Act 2 Scene 4 Of Henry Viii

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In Act 2, Scene 4, of Henry VIII, Shakespeare constructs the trial of Katherine of Aragon regarding the validity of her marriage to Henry. In the scene, Katherine is shown as the simple, holy, and dutiful wife, subjected to the injustice and corruption of the royal court at the hands of the Cardinals Wolsey and Campeius and the King. With this, the nature of the corrupt court is shown, as well as the retaliation of Katherine, the simple woman, in the face of injustice. Through this, Shakespeare gives us a better understanding of the nature and emergence of justice on Cardinal Wolsey for his scheming and mistreatment of others in the play and the reactions of the people to injustice acted upon them. At the beginning of the scene, all the…show more content…
Despite her pleas that she has been a good wife, undeserving of divorce, and in need of counsel outside of England in order to receive justice, Cardinal Wolsey says that there are plenty of qualified people to counsel her in England, and that reaching out to Spain is unnecessary: “You have here, lady… / men of singular integrity and learning, / Yea, the elect o’th’ land, who are assembled / To plead your cause.” (4.2.55-59). Katherine’s desperation is met with refusal for fair treatment, showing the corrupt inner workings of the court all being orchestrated by Wolsey. For even after Katherine’s exit, the King himself declares “That man i’th’ world who shall report he has / A better wife, let him in naught be trusted / For speaking false in that.” (2.4.131-133). The King knows he has a good and loyal wife, but is only brought to question their marriage by Wolsey. The unfair treatment brought upon Katherine reveals more than just the state of the court, though: it shows the response of a person in the face of injustice. Toward the end of Katherine’s time onstage, her tone and language become more fierce and aggressive, the turning point of this being “Sir, / I am about to weep, but thinking that / We are a queen, or long have dreamed so, certain / The daughter of a king, my drops of tears / I’ll turn to sparks of fire.” (2.4.69-71). When faced with unfair treatment, Katherine becomes enraged and vehemently defends herself, calling attention to
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