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Irp 2 Essay

618 words - 3 pages

In his play Henry VIII, author William Shakespeare does a remarkable job of conveying the emotions of his character Cardinal Wolsey, who has just received the shock of his dismissal as the King's advisor. Shakespeare's description is realistic because it reflects the range of feelings people often undergo when reeling from an unexpected disappointment. Wolsey's soliloquy reveals both anger and lamentation as he struggles to come to terms with what has occurred. Shakespeare portrays both the hostility and despair of Wolsey's reaction through dramatic diction, figurative language, and a shift in tone.

The words Shakespeare chooses reflect Wolsey's complex reaction because they represent strong emotion. Wolsey describes himself as "weary," which implies that he has poured everything he has into his position, leaving him exhausted. "Weary" connotes aging, as if Wolsey has expended a great amount of time in his dedication to his work. Even more powerful is the selection of the word "wretched," which Wolsey uses to characterize those such as himself who have lived their lives depending on the approval of the monarch. The connotations of "wretched" are despair and utter hopelessness. This negative word choice suggests that Wolsey has no hope whatsoever for the future, leaving him in a state of utter desperation. The loaded diction Shakespeare uses illuminates the extremity of Wolsey's emotional state.

Through figurative language, Shakespeare evokes powerful images that show Wolsey's anger as well as despair. He uses the metaphor of a delicate flower to represent Wolsey's spirit, first optimistically putting out "the tender leaves of hopes," then blooming only to be struck by a "killing frost." This image conveys Wolsey's vulnerability and innocence. The frost, which symbolizes the king's brash dismissal of Wolsey, is cruel and undeserved. By placing the sprouting, blooming, and death of the...

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