Sir Thomas Wyatt 's Defence

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Sir Thomas Wyatt’s defence covered two major areas; the possible insulting of the king and conspiring with Catholics in a newly decided protestant country. His 1541 defence guards his actions on both parts, however due to the lack of historical evidence it is impossible to know if this defence was ever used, even if we do know he somehow did manage to get himself off the charges. Nevertheless, it offers great insight to the mind and feelings of an otherwise elusive and ambiguous historical figure. It is this, that being Wyatt writing about his own biography, that offers vital importance to his poetry, and more importantly his satires like ‘Myne Owne John Poyntz’. Through Wyatt’s own work we can examine the possible emotion, and tie it down to its own specific historical moment.

Furthermore, this leads us to question the relationship between Wyatt and the king, Henry VIII. The alleged love triangle between them and Anne Boleyn might suggest more room for speculation on his defence and the general sentiments Wyatt might have that would lead him to, in a moment of high-emotion, blaspheme openly against the king. Indeed it is alluded to in ‘Myne Owne John Poyntz’, ‘I am not he that can allow the state/of his Caesar, and damn Cato to die’, that the king is, in Wyatt’s mind, a focus of great animosity. Classical allusion is, and remains to be, a traditional device for distancing oneself from the characters around you to directly criticise the climate of court or social
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