Cardinal Wolsey Soliloquy Essay

Wolsey suggests that he objects to Anne on religious grounds, since she is a Lutheran.

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The traditional Elizabethan cyclical image of the "wheel of fortune" is at work here: that which rises must inevitably fall.

Unlike Shakespeare's early history plays titled with a king's name, these ups and downs of fate do not concern the monarch and his rivals but instead concern the successive demise of the lesser court figures of Buckingham, Katharine, Cardinal Wolsey, and, nearly, Cranmer.

Cranmer embraces those who would have sent him to the Tower and forgives them immediately after the trial.

Providence plays a significant role in the fall of these various characters.

Norfolk tells Wolsey that he holds a set of articles enumerating the faults of Wolsey, written in the king's hand, but Wolsey says his innocence will be found when the king knows of his loyalty.

Henry VII recounts the fall of three main figures of King Henry VIII's court and the near fall of a fourth character.Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, and Lord Chamberlain re-enter and announce the king's order for Wolsey to give over the seal of his office, which Wolsey carries, and confine himself to his house.Wolsey is unwilling to step down before these lesser lords, and he accuses them of envy.He asks the lords if they have seen Wolsey, and they reply that he is nearby but strangely upset.The king says it may be because of misdelivered papers the king just encountered, including a surprisingly large inventory of Wolsey's holdings. Henry comments to Wolsey that he must be too busy contemplating spiritual matters to consider the earthly world, but Wolsey says he has time for both.When Wolsey is accused of his various wrongdoings, even the lords reading the charges against him forgive him, and Wolsey finally reaches higher understanding of himself and the world as he understands his faults.The king seems sorry about Katharine's fall from grace, but he accepts it as inevitable; while she is slower to forgive Wolsey's role in the matter, eventually she does.Norfolk, Suffolk, Lord Chamberlain, and Surrey enter.Norfolk urges for them to combine their complaints against Cardinal Wolsey, for Wolsey wouldn't be able to resist a united front.Wolsey says he was innocent of holding any private malice toward Buckingham, and he reminds Surrey that a jury sent Buckingham to his death.Surrey, angered at Wolsey's arrogant speech, reminds Wolsey of his efforts to take the lands and holdings of other nobles and the scheme he had been cooking up with the Pope against the king.


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