The Henry VIII play is set in the Royal Palace, London, and at other houses near London. Read more about Henry VIII settings.
Date written: 1612
Genre classification: Henry VIII is a History Play.
Main characters in Henry VIII: King Henry is a wilful monarch who confronts the Roman Church by marrying Anne Bullen.
Cardinal Wolsey is the Lord Chancellor of England. He is rich and powerful and manipulative. He overreaches and loses his property and his life.
Katherine of Arragon is Henry’s wife, the Queen of England.
Anne Bullen is Katherine’s maid of honour, the object of Henry’s lust and the cause of the play’s conflict.
Cranmer is the Archbishop of Canterbury
Duke of Buckingham is the King’s supporter and Wolsey’s opponent. See a full list of characters in Henry VIII.
Henry VIII themes: Power corrupts; the search for immortality, reflected in Henry’s obsession with producing a male heir; the treatment of women in a male-dominated society and repentance.