Henry VIII: The Narcissistic King Essay

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When Henry VIII ascended to the throne in 1509, he became yet another English monarch without absolute power over his realm. Despite not having the same authority as his contemporary European monarchs, Henry was the recipient of two very important prerequisites for a successful reign. The first was a full treasury and the second was a peaceful transfer of power, which had been anything but certain in England since the War of the Roses. At first he was content to enjoy the fruits of his father’s labor, but ultimately he sought glory in his own name. Henry plunged into needless conflict in Europe, eliminated anyone who opposed him, and became so obsessed with securing a male heir that he engineered a split with the Catholic Church. It was …show more content…
Henry would never gain the French Crown or be known as a warrior king, but he would become known for something of greater significance. Henry VIII’s desire for military glory was possibly only surpassed by his infatuation with producing a male heir. Although she had been a model queen in many respects, Catherine had not produced a male heir and this was of the utmost importance to Henry. To him, it was unthinkable that the throne could fall peacefully to a girl. He eventually looked to another woman to satisfy this desire, but first he needed to get rid of Catherine. The only way for Henry to receive an annulment was to secure a papal dispensation. In order to achieve this Henry citied a passage in Leviticus that stated, "If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an impurity: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.” He was seemingly convinced that since he had married his deceased brother’s wife he was to remain without an heir. This passage also presented quite a contradiction however because Henry and Catherine were not without a child, but had just not had a son. This was either lost completely upon Henry or simply ignored. Either way he was asking the Pope to go back on his initial ruling. He had previously decided that since Catherine had not consummated the marriage with Henry’s brother, it was okay in the eyes of God that they be married. In addition to having to contradict himself, the Pope was

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