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"Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water."
- Shakespeare & Fletcher, Henry VIII
What do you get when you co-write a play and the other guy phones-it-in? What do you do when the other guy is William Shakespeare and his phoned-in stuff is still better than most writing you've seen or your own writing? I guess you just do what you do, write your scenes, work hard, and shut up. Here are my three main knocks against this play:
1. Phoned-in by the Bard (see also Cymbeline).
2. Co-written by John Fletcher (see also The Two Noble Kinsmen)
3. Quasi-propaganda crap for the Tudors see also ("Too soon?, Too soon?").
For those interested, according to Erdman and Fogel in 'Evidence for Authorship: Essays on Problems of Attribution,' the breakdown of authorship for this play is the following:
Shakespeare: Act I, scenes i and ii; II,iii and iv; III,ii, lines 1–203 (to exit of King); V,i.
Fletcher: Prologue; I,iii; II,i and ii; III,i, and ii, 203–458 (after exit of King); IV,i and ii; V ii–v; Epilogue.
Anyway, the play is so bad it basically destroyed the Globe Theatre.* I kid, I kid.
"Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself.” (Act 1, Scene 1)
"I have touched the highest point of all my greatness;
And from that full meridian of my glory
I haste now to my setting: I shall fall
Like a bright exhalation in the evening,
And no man see me more.” (Act 3, Scene 2)
"Press not a falling man too far!” (Act 3, Scene 2)
“We all are men, in our own natures frail, and capable of our flesh; few are angels.” (Act 5, Scene 2).
*Technically, it was a canon shot during the play that caught the thatched roof on fire, but give me a bit of poetic license here.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
Covering the fall of Wolsey and the divorce from Katherine of Aragon to the christening of Elizabeth, this shows Shakespeare carefully portraying the Tudors as thoughtful caring monarchs.