Henry Viii, By William Shakespeare Essay

Henry Viii, By William Shakespeare Essay

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Henry VIII, infamously known for his many marriages as well as his role in the English Reformation, reigned as king of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. After his brother died, Arthur, he was expected to take the throne. Henry married his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, because it was his father’s dying wish. In addition to strengthening the alliance between the ruling families of Spain and England, however, their marriage was also meant to provide a political advantage. In the beginning, their love was genuine as he was quoted in a letter to his father-in-law about his new wife, he writes, “The bond between us is now so strict that all our interests are common, and the love I bear to Katherine is such that if I were still free, I would choose her in preference to all others” (JS Brewer). This attitude soon fell away with the divorce of his wife, which was the impetus for many important changes to come. One tumultuous marriage after another, his ruling grew more and more inconsistent. While a cultural factor; the Pope’s objections towards Henry VIII’s desire for an annulment, was the primary cause of his decision to break away from the Roman Catholic Church, political tensions within his own court were also a contributing factor.
The main reason for the king’s disagreement with the church stemmed from a cultural issue, the need for a divorce from Catherine. Their marriage was seemingly happy, but when the only child produced was a girl, Henry wished for a male heir to continue the Tudor line. He believed that his daughter, Mary, would not be a suitable successor. According to Salic law, women were not allowed to inherit the throne. Even if she were given the power, he feared that citizens would not recognize her a...


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...r most of the other factors. Therefore, he appointed his own minister to oversee the annulment, resulting in the deepening schism between England and the Church as the King became the supreme head of church and country. At the same time, many acts passed by the Parliament to continue to weaken the pope’s control in the country. While cultural factors such as the lack of a male heir appeared to be the primary cause of the English Reformation, political aspects, such as the exercises of power by the government also played a role in the eventual splitting between England and the Church. This break with Rome was a radical decision for Henry to make, and severe methods of enforcement by the government were needed for such a great change to materialize. This event in history has tremendously affected the course of history and still has an impact on the lives we live today.

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