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Henry’s Insomnia

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Henry’s Insomnia

Henry’s Insomnia

Winston Churchill once stated, “the price of greatness is responsibility”. In order to be powerful one has to be able to deal with all the responsibilities and struggle that comes with that position. In the soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part II, King Henry is seen as sleepless and anxious as a result of the overwhelming duties he possesses as king. By analyzing his thoughts in the soliloquy, one is able to understand his state of mind.

King Henry opens the soliloquy by saying how extremely tired he is, and that he cannot seem to fall asleep at all. He starts by talking to “sleep” as a person by saying “O Sleep! O gentle sleep! Nature’s soft nurse…” (lines 2-3). Using “nature’s soft nurse” is a form of imagery. King Henry’s lines and wording the in the first couple of lines show exhalation and seduction.

Further on, King Henry realizes that he, the king, is the only one able to sleep. The poorest of his subjects can sleep in their small beds but he cannot in his “perfum’d chambers” (line 9). He goes on with a insulting attitude towards sleep by calling it a “dull god” (line 12). The king compares his lack

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