chapter  8
13 Pages

Wondering in Henry VIII or All is True


Norfolk’s next words confirm the efficacy of wonderful spectacle when he confides to Buckingham that all these “fierce vanities” do but feed the Cardinal of York’s desires to make history (1.1.53). Barely fifty lines in, as critics such as Christopher Cobb, Alexander Leggatt, and Howard Felperin point out, the play’s dialogue of an idealized or romance-like vision of history fades before a Machiavellian reality as the jostling Dukes complain of Cardinal Wolsey’s power brokering behind the golden masque curtain.2