Author Archives: Dennis Abrams

‘”Henry VIII’ is an elegy for Shakespeare’s world-altering achievement in poetic drama, and consciously bids farewell to the playwright’s highest powers.”

Henry VIII (All Is True) Act Five By Dennis Abrams ——————————— Act Five:  The new Queen is soon pregnant, but the news only antagonizes the King’s secretary Gardiner, who vows to attack her and Cranmer, Henry’s virtuous Archbishop of Canterbury … Continue reading

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“Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues/We write in water.”

Henry VIII (All Is True) Act Four By Dennis Abrams —————————- Act Four:  The coronation of Anne takes place with great ceremony, but her triumph cruelly coincides with Katherine’s decline. Lying sick at Kimbolton, Katherine has a vision of celestial … Continue reading

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“And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer/Never to hope again.”

Henry VIII (All Is True) Act Three By Dennis Abrams —————————– Act Three:  The case stalls until Katherine decides to relent following a visit from Wolsey and Campeius. But a further hold-up occurs when deceitful letters sent from Wolsey to … Continue reading

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“It seems the marriage with his brother’s wife/Has crept too near his conscience.” “No, his conscience/Has crept too near another lady.”

Henry VIII (All Is True) Act Two By Dennis Abrams —————————————– Act Two:  As Buckingham heads to his execution, rumors begin circulating that Henry plans to divorce his wife Katherine with Wolsey’s approval, and in fact Cardinal Campeius has traveled … Continue reading

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“I come no more to make you laugh. Things now/That bear a weighty and serious brow,/Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe…”

Henry VIII (All Is True) Act One By Dennis Abrams —————————— MAJOR CHARACTERS PROLOGUE AND EPILOGUE King Henry VIII of England Katherine of Aragon, Henry’s wife, soon to be divorced Anne Boleyn, Katherine’s maid-of-honor and Henry’s soon to be second … Continue reading

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“The effect for the reader is one of a rich and sumptuous ceremony.”

Henry VIII (or All Is True) An Introduction By Dennis Abrams ——————————– Written in collaboration with John Fletcher, Henry VIII (or All Is True) is one of Shakespeare’s most ostentatiously spectacular works – Coleridge called it a “show play.” And … Continue reading

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“So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,/And, Death once dead, there’s no more dying then.”

Shakespeare Sonnet #146 Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth, [Why feed'st] these rebel powers that thee array? Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth, Painting thy outward walls so costly gay? Why so large cost, having so … Continue reading

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“On the desert island the history of the world has been performed. The performance is over; history begins once more.”

The Tempest Act Five, Part Three By Dennis Abrams ———————————— I want to conclude our examination of The Tempest with this, from the great Jan Kott: “Who is Prospero and what does his staff signify? Why does he combine knowledge … Continue reading

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“..I’ll break my staff,/Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,/And deeper than did ever plummet sound/I’ll drown my book.”

The Tempest Act Five, Part Two By Dennis Abrams ————————— From Harold Bloom: “Ariel is our largest clue to understanding Prospero, though we have no similar aid for apprehending this great sprite, who has very little in common with Puck, … Continue reading

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“But this rough magic/I here abjure.”

The Tempest Act Five, Part One By Dennis Abrams ————————— Act Five:  Ariel reports that the spirits of Alonso and the other Neapolitans have been broken, and Prospero instructs him to release them. Ariel leads the group in by magic, … Continue reading

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