William Shakespeare's Henry VIII is a compelling history play, recreating a crucial moment in the Tudor dynasty, and the events that marked the beginning of the English Reformation. This Penguin Shakespeare edition is edited by A.R. Humphreys, with an introduction by C.M.S. Alexander.
'O, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours!'
Conspiracies and intrigue are rife in the court of Henry VIII as the Duke of Buckingham is executed for treason, having been tricked by his enemy Cardinal Wolsey. And when the King falls in love with Anne Boleyn and decides to divorce his wife, Katherine of Aragon, he causes an irrevocable rift with the Catholic Church. After the King's secret marriage to Anne, courtiers fall in and out of favour and deaths abound, with far-reaching consequences.
This book contains a general introduction to Shakespeare's life and Elizabethan theatre, a separate introduction to Henry VIII, a chronology, suggestions for further reading, an essay discussing performance options on both stage and screen, and a commentary.
If you enjoyed Henry VIII, you might like Richard II, also available in Penguin Shakespeare.
'If we wish to know the force of human genius we should read Shakespeare'
William Shakespeare was born in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and died in 1616. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. Stanley Wells is Emeritus Professor of the University of Birmingham and Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Catherine Alexander was a Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.