The Court and Sir Thomas Wyatt

1386 Words Jun 19th, 2018 6 Pages
The Court and Sir Thomas Wyatt

During the 16th Century, English poetry was dominated and institutionalised by the Court. Because it 'excited an intensity that indicates a rare concentration of power and cultural dominance,' the Court was primarily responsible for the popularity of the poets who emerged from it. Sir Thomas Wyatt, one of a multitude of the so-called 'Court poets' of this time period, not only changed the way his society saw poetry through his adaptations of the Petrarchan Sonnet, but also obscurely attempted to recreate the culture norm through his influence. Though much of his poems are merely translations of Petrarch's, these, in addition to his other poetry, are satirical by at least a cultural approach.
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Complaint poems were often aimed in the sixteenth century at correcting the problem of which the poem's speaker complains; 'in some of these poems the complaint merges with satire to urge correction of man's foolish and vicious behaviour.' Wyatt's 'complaint' poems show an attempt to change the laws of Courtly love and to employ the Renaissance philosophy of 'old freedoms regained,' thereby classifying them as satirical. In addition to criticising Courtly love, Wyatt mocks the relationship of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in his sonnet 'Whoso Lists to hunt.' In the poem, Wyatt compares the fantasy of courtly love with hunters chasing after a hind. The hunters symbolise the courtiers while Anne Boleyn is the hunted hind. The poem contains the bloody imagery that can be associated with a hunt; the speaker does not 'Draw from the deer' his wearied mind. This imagery accompanied with the inscription on the collar around the deer's neck, 'for Caesar's I am,' shows the disintegration of the institution of the Court. Henry VIII, who was well known for his