Task: In a well-organized essay, briefly summarize the King's thoughts and analyze how the diction, imagery, and syntax help to convey his state of mind.

Essay by dimi19High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 16 times

In the soliloquy from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II, King Henry is prodigiously vexed by his inability to sleep. In addressing sleep itself, with the use of an apostrophe, he hopes to persuade it to fall upon him by asking various rhetorical questions. He pleads with sleep for it to abandon its partiality and bestow upon him some rest, as it does upon the commoners. At the end of the passage, however, his indignation turns into resignation, as he realizes that he can do little to alter his situation. The transition in King Henry's state of mind is conveyed through the soliloquy's powerful images, revealing word choice, and peculiar sentence structure.

Interestingly, Henry's combination of concrete and figurative language to describe different social situations creates an atmosphere of polarity. While a repetition of rhetorical questions exemplifies the king's frustration with sleep, King Henry's use of literary techniques portrays an elevated status, and his mutating tone displays a gradual rise in anger.

Moreover, King Henry's conscience is not free of self-doubt. He believes that he might have done something to scare sleep away and asks it "...how [has he] frighted [it]...." Because he is deprived of sleep, it is of great value to the king, who directly addresses a personified abstraction, sleep and refers to it as "...Nature's soft nurse..." and "...dull god...." The contrast between the tenderness conveyed in the former and the hostility conveyed in the later address help to illustrate the transition in Henry IV's state of mind as his self-loathing is replaced by anger towards sleep.

Additionally, to convey Henry's disturbed state of mind, Shakespeare employs contrastingly intense imagery in order to allow the reader to draw comparisons between Henry and his subjects. England's monarch is thus described as reclining in the "...perfum'd chambers of...