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Henry VIII | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "Henry VIII Study Guide." March 13, 2017. Accessed May 27, 2023.


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Henry VIII | Prologue | Summary



The Prologue enters and informs the audience this play will not be a happy one. It will be sad and serious, and the nobility of the story will prompt the audience to pity. The Prologue implores the audience to think of the characters as living people, and warns that the story is going to end in misery.


The Prologue introduces the play by telling audiences how it ends and how the audience is expected to feel about the events that occur. The audience is encouraged to pity the characters, suggesting the men and women whose "mightiness meets misery" are not all villains, but are instead caught up in a sequence of events out of their control. The Prologue also emphasizes the "truth" of what the audience will see, explaining that anyone who has come to simply witness a spectacle might be missing the greater meaning of the play. Both this emphasis on pity and on truth will be important to understanding the characters and events of the play.

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