THE WHOLE LIFE AND DEATH OF
THOMAS LORD CROMWELL
(printed 1602 "Written by W.S.") It seems to be have been written by many hands. The bookseller may have used these initials to increase sales by implying that Shakespeare had written the play.
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
"A cruel covetous broker". He enters close to the beginning of the play to announce that though Banister's father was at one time Bagot's master, he has had Banister arrested for owing Frescobald £1000 hoping for a reward from Frescobald. Frescobald reprimands him for his action but Bagot explains that Banister is well able to pay his debts and wastes his money on gambling and prostitutes. Banister and his wife explain that Bagot is ungrateful and dishonest and Frescobald believes them, sending Bagot away. To get vengeance on Banister Bagot swears he will buy up all Banister's debts cheap from his creditors in order to make Banister ache with sorrow. Later, in Antwerp he has Banister detained by the Governor hoping to watch him rot in prison, his wife hang herself, and her children die of starvation. He has brought jewels worth £5000 for which he paid only £200. He knows they're stolen and so wishes to sell them abroad. The governor and he are within £200 of making a deal. He has sent the bills of debt to Cromwell in advance so that if the winds delayed his boat Cromwell wd nevertheless be able to arrest Banister. He rejects Crowell's wishes that he should show human warmth towards Banister and accuses Cromwell who has rejected gain as a motive to act, of hypocrisy. When the governor negotiates to buy the jewels Bagot has brought from England the Governor's increases his offer on condition that the honest Banister be forgiven his debts. Bagot refuses to do anything to help Banister. When Bowser arrives with news that Bagot has jewels stolen from the king Bagot is arrested and later hanged. His property is given by the Antwerp merchants to Banister.
They are Italian bandits whom we hear of only, who rob Thomas Cromwell and his servant Hodge in Florence.
He is an honest merchant of London who owes £1000 to Frescobald. Bagot has him arrested for the debt in hopes of a reward from Frescobald, but when Frescobald rejects his action Bagot goes off to buy up Banister's debts cheaply from his creditors in order to persecute him. Banister flees to Antwerp where Bagot pursues him and has him imprisoned. When more of Bagot's dishonesty is disclosed, Banister is delighted to be told the Antwerp merchants have awarded him £7 500 worth of Bagot's confiscated property. Later Banister and his wife appear after Cromwell's procession around London has ended. They recognize Frescobald, impoverished now and ready to die. Banister explains that since they last met he is now well off and will repay the £1000 pound he owes him. They agree to go along with him to Cromwell's banquet.
She explains to Frescobald, who seems about to imprison her husband, that they are willing to go hungry in order to pay back their debt to Frescobald and that she and her children will pray for him. When the Banisters flee to Antwerp Cromwell hears her weeping. She explains that her husband has been arrested by the Governor for his debts and begs Cromwell to dissuade Bagot from pursuing them. She continues to offer prayers and thanks to God and continues to do so when Banister is awarded Bagot's property. Later, back in London she and her husband appear after Cromwell's procession around London has ended. They recognize the impoverished Frescobald. She and her husband agree to go along with him to Cromwell's where Frescobald has been invited.
BEDFORD, EARL of
He first appears in an inn in Bononia talking defiantly to his host about the French who are surrounded the building. Cromwell arrives, disguised as a Neopolitan who has promised to get Bedford to surrender to the French without a drop of blood being shed. Bedford remembers Cromwell as the son of his farrier. He agrees to change clothes with Hodge (Cromwell's servant and called "clown" at this point in the SD) and escapes with Cromwell. He next appears in Act 4, after Wolsey has fallen, as the nobles discuss Wolsey's plots. He recognizes Cromwell as the man who saved him from the French and says he will commend him to the king. Cromwell is steadily promoted. Bedford next appears at Cromwell's banquet in Act 4 but says nothing. When Gardiner accuses Cromwell of plotting against the king he does not believe him and leaves to think. He is troubled and goes to confront Cromwell as twice he passes Bedford in the street on his way to important business. In the end he writes Cromwell a letter which Cromwell fails to read, warning Cromwell not to go to the meeting at Lambeth with the nobles. When he watches Cromwell's arrest he weeps at Cromwell's downfall and later reprimands Gardiner for disturbing Cromwell as he is about to be executed. He embraces Cromwell and after the execution announces that Cromwell was his truest friend.
Also spelled Bouser. He is a merchant. At the beginning of the play, after young Thomas Cromwell has meditated on his humble origins and the rise of humble people over time, Bowser enters to offer Cromwell his first appointment, that of secretary to the house for English merchants in Antwerp. Later, in Antwerp, when Bagot refuses to forgive Banister his debts, Bowser arrives with news that £7000 worth of the kings jewels have been stolen and sold to Bagot for £300, and that jewels worth £5000 and plate and furniture worth £2500 have been confiscated from Bagot, given to the Antwerp merchants who have donated it to Banister.
At the start of Act 2 the Chorus explains to the audience that Cromwell is now in Antwerp and that Banister is also there in his efforts to escape Bagot who is pursuing him with "bills of debts" he has bought cheap from Banister's creditors. Later Chorus explains that after Cromwell engineered Bedford's escape form Bononia he refused the earl's offer to accompany him to France because he wanted to continue this travels, this time to Spain. In the same speech Chorus explains that we now have to consider several years to have passed and that now Cromwell is back in England, where he is private secretary to the Master of the Rolls, Sir Christopher Hales. At the start of Act 4 Chorus explains that Cromwell now begins a new life at the height of hs power. Wolsey has died, having given Cromwell all his treasure, and Gardiner, his man, has become Bishop of Winchester. The Chorus apologizes for not giving more information about Wolsey but the play "depends on" depicting Cromwell's fall following his great rise.
CITIZEN, FIRST and SECOND
Two citizens appear in the play. They appear together in a brief scene immediately after Cromwell is arrested by the nobles at Lambeth. They express amazement and disappointment at the arrest because he has performed so many charitable acts. They acknowledge that although he is loved by the king, at court so many are jealous of him that he is not safe. They agree to meet again later. Citizen 1 goes off to court to hear what happens to Cromwell. Citizen 2 says he will go to the city where he expects to hear more information than Citizen 1.
Alternate designation for Hodge.
Thomas Cromwell's son. Talks to his father in prison just before his execution.
He is a blacksmith from Putney and Thomas's father. He reprimands his three smiths when they stop work, to have young Cromwell explain that he'd stopped them because they were disturbing his studying. When Thomas throws money at the smiths as recompense for their not working Old Cromwell explains to his son he did not bring him up to throw money away but to look after him in his old age. Then Bowser appears to offer his son the position of secretary of the English house in Antwerp. Old Cromwell expresses gratitude. Much later, Thomas, at the height of his power, recognizes his father in the crowd and asks him to dinner that night. At the dinner he tells Old Cromwell that he need not remove his hat before him.
He first appears having been studying, explaining that his only wealth is his learning. He tells his father's blacksmiths to stop hammering because it disturbs his thinking. When his father reprimands them for not working, young Cromwell throws money at them as recompense. Accused by his father of wasting money, he explains that one day he will be very rich and have a massive palace. Alone, he muses on his humble origins that hold him back and speaks of the effects of time-how the humble rise and the mighty fall. While he is doing this Master Bowser enters offering Cromwell his first appointment, that of secretary to the house for English merchants in Antwerp. In Act2 Cromwell is in Antwerp. He is at work on the accounts, but announces that money is not what he is looking for; he is looking for new experience. He sends a messenger (the Post) to Frankfurt to prepare for English travelers on their way to Florence. When he hears Mistress Banister weeping because her husband has been arrested by the Governor, he agrees to try to dissuade Bagot from pursuing her husband . When she leaves he comments on the effects of the stars and fickle fate. Cromwell tries to persuade Bagot to show warmth to the Banisters. When he explains to Bagot that gain is not something that causes him (Cromwell) to act Bagot tells him that Cromwell is seen as a hypocrite. Rather than fight the accusation, Cromwell plans to leave Antwerp and travel. He declares that he rejects falsehood and "brokerie" and asks Hodge, who has come from England to see him, to accompany him to Italy. Act 3 opens with Thomas and Hodge begging at each end of a bridge in Florence. They have been robbed by the Bandetti and are freezing cold. Friscibald, the Florentine merchant who has forgiven Banister his debts and who loves England, gives them all the money he has on him, even though he does not know them. Thomas expresses his deep gratitude, promises to repay him when he can and announces that he is off to Bononia where he hopes to rescue the Earl of Bedford whom the French are holding and threatening to kill. Cromwell with Hodge his servant visits the Earl of Bedford in Bononia, who is besieged in an inn, disguised as a Neopolitan who has promised the French he will deliver Bedford to them without shedding a drop of blood. In the besieged inn, Cromwell explains to Bedford that they cannot escape by force but they can by policy. He persuades Bedford to change clothes with Hodge who will remain behind while Bedford pretends to be Hodge. Alone, he regrets that he will have to leave Hodge in the hands of the French but that to do so is to do less evil than allowing the higher-born Earl to be killed. He places Hodge in Bedford's study and announces to the Governor of Bononia announcing that all is as he promised. He requests safe conduct to the Mantua port and takes his reward. From Mantua he sends a message to the Governor that he and Bedford have escaped and that Mantua will renege on the truce with Bononia if Hodge isn't released. (This they do.) Several years of travelling pass and Cromwell next appears in London as Secretary to the Master of the Rolls. The Master (Sir Christopher Hales) makes clear that he owes his success to Cromwell and promises to find a position of state for him. At a banquet Hales holds, Cardinal Wolsey asks for Cromwell's opinion of the European courts he has visited. Cromwell categorizes them as those governed by lust and those by riot and drink, and that England "laughs [them all] to scorn." Wolsey then makes Cromwell his private secretary, announcing that Cromwell will continue to rise. In Act 4, the Chorus explains that the play is to be about Cromwell's rise and fall and that Wolsey had died. Gardiner, formerly Wolsey's man and now Bishop of Winchester, the Dukes of Norfolk, and of Suffolk, Sir Thomas More and Sir Christopher Hales discuss the disgraced Cardinal's plots against the state. They ask Cromwell for Wolsey's correspondence and on his knees he hands it over, explaining that he grieves Wolsey's death but not his fall. Suffolk explains the king will reward Cromwell for his fine behaviour and Bedford, recognizing Cromwell as the man who saved him from the French, promises to commend him to the king. Later in the same scene Suffolk knights Cromwell in the king's name, Norfolk names him to the king's privy council and Bedford comes in appointing him Master of the Rolls. Cromwell modestly accepts the appointments. The three take him to the king, while Gardiner stays behind to announce his envy of Cromwell and his intention of having him killed. Soon Cromwell is very powerful and walks though London followed by lords and other attendants. Hodge goes before to get any beggars out of the way and everyone to stand. Cromwell recognizes the inn keepers Seely and his wife in the crowd, remembers he owes them money, repays the debt, promises the amount of the former debt every year, He invites them to dinner that day. He sends a servant to tell Friscoball, whom he also spots in the crowd, to come to dinner. He acknowledges that Gardiner dislikes the dissolution of the monasteries that Cromwell has instigated but explains that the abbots and friars were representatives of the Antichrist, did no work and took the fat of the land. He then sees his father in the crowd and falls on his knees begging his blessing. He sends a servant to get his father to come into his house. At the meal he looks for his father and tells him there is no need for him to uncover his head. He remembers the exact amount he owes Friscoball for the help he provided in Florence. He gives him money with the promise that he will settle all his debts. He addresses Goodman Seely with thanks for all the help he gave him when he was poor. Later he is summoned to Lambeth by the Gardiner and other lords. On the way a messenger gives Crowell a letter from Bedford (warning him not to go to Lambeth.) which he places in his pocket without reading it. At Lambeth he leaves his barge and walks through columns of halberd-bearing soldiers. The sergeant at arms arrests him and Cromwell orders his men not to draw their swords in his defence. He is led off to the Tower, acknowledging the weeping Bedford and warning Norfolk that it will be soon be his turn to fall. In the Tower he reflects on the fact that he was second in power only to the king, remembers the Bedford's letter and comments that if he had given way to the pleasure of reading a letter from a friend he would not have been arrested. When the nobles visit him in his prison Cromwell has Sir Ralph Sadler take a letter to the king explaining that Gardiner is the disloyal traitor. Cromwell tells the nobles to explain to the king that Gardiner was the sole cause of his death, and gives the same message to his son who comes to visit him. When Bedford reprimands Gardiner for quarrelling with and thus disturbing Cromwell just before his death, Cromwell declares that Gardiner does not disturb him. He embraces Bedford. When Sdaler returns with the king's reprieve Cromwell is already dead: Gardiner had deliberately hastened the execution
He and Newton are two merchants whom Banister is having to dinner to collect their bonds in (He is now rich enough not to worry about the money he owes.) In a following scene they discuss how reliable Banister is at repaying his loans to them and then talk about the bitter hostility between Cromwell and Gardiner.
Also spelled Fryskiball and Friskiball. He is a merchant from Florence to whom Banister owes £1000 . When the broker Bagot has Banister arrested for his debt to Frescobald, Frescobald rejects Bagot and forgives Banister his debt until he can pay it. In Florence he finds Cromwell and Hodge his servant begging on a bridge, having been robbed. He gives them all the money he has on him, explaining that he loves England. Later Friscoball is penniless in London with no way of reclaiming what is owed him. He prepares to die but Hodge who is clearing the way for Cromwell's grand procession, makes him stand. Cromwell sees him and gets a servant to tell him to stay. At the banquet Cromwell remembers the exact sum he owes him and gives him far more than he owed, with a promise to settle all his debts.
Alternate spelling of Frescobald.
Alternate spelling of Frescobald.
GARDINER, BISHOP of WINCHESTER
He is the man who brings Cromwell down primarily out of jealousy, though he is resentful of Cromwell for having dissolved the monasteries. He first appears at the banquet at which Wolsey discovers Cromwell and promotes him to Wolsey's private secretary. Gardiner says nothing; he simply embraces him. In Act4 after the Chorus announces Wolsey's death, Gardiner (formerly Wolsey's man and now Bishop of Winchester), discusses Wolsey's plots against the state with the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas More and Sir Christopher Hales. Norfolk and Gardiner ask Cromwell, Wolsey's secretary, for the writings Wolsey has given him; Cromwell offers them up. After most of the lords praise Cromwell, Hales, More and Gardiner comment on how the wheel of state brought the proud Wolsey down. Later Gardiner is a member of Cromwell's grand procession when Cromwell pays the debt he owes an innkeeper and his wife. Gardiner comments to Norfolk that Cromwell will come to a sad end. Later, alone, Gardiner assesses his situation, believing that Suffolk and Norfolk are both hostile to Cromwell and that Bedford will not dare contradict them. He summons two witnesses whom he absolves from guilt with holy water after they agree to claim that they heard Cromwell say he wished a dagger in King Henry's heart. They repeat to Norfolk, Suffolk and Bedford what Gardiner has told them to say. Bedford leaves in disbelief. After Gardiner explains that a law which Cromwell enacted could be used to have him executed without a public trial, the lords agree to have Cromwell executed. At the scene of Cromwell's arrest Gardiner gives clear instructions to the soldiers, the Sergeant at Arms and the Herald as to what they have to do. In the final scene Gardiner refuses to carry any letter from a traitor to the King and arranges to have Cromwell executed before he receives the king's reprieve. At the execution he speaks in such a way to the condemned Cromwell that Bedford reprimands him for disturbing a dying man just before death. In the play's penultimate speech he acknowledges the wrongness of the execution.
GOVERNOR, FIRST and SECOND
Two Governors figure in the play:
- The First is the Governor of the English House in Antwerp. On learning from Bagot that Thomas has left for Italy, the Governor declares his admiration for Cromwell's honesty. He negotiates with Bagot to buy jewels that Bagot has brought from England. There is a difference of £200 but he offers to split the difference on condition that he forgives the honest Banister, waiting in jail. He rejoices when Bowser arrives with news that Bagot is to be imprisoned for buying stolen jewels and his property to be given to the ruined merchant Banister.
- The Second is the Governor of French troops in Bononia. He gives a reward and promise of safe conduct to Cromwell for delivering (as he believes) Bedford to him. As the unwitting straight man to Hodge's clowning, he interprets the letter Hodge (disguised as the Earl of Bedford and remaining behind so that Bedford can escape) is writing to his friends in Putney, as a letter to English nobles. He releases Hodge when the messenger announces that Mantua will renege on their truce with Bononia if Hodge is not set free.
These are silent soldiers holding halberds who appear in the scene where Gardiner arrests Cromwell.
HALES, SIR CHRISTOPHER
He is Master of the Rolls, a high position of state. He appears with Cromwell, now Hales's servant, after Cromwell's return from years of travelling. He explains to that the banquet he is providing is very important and costs far more than is usual. He explains that Cromwell is far above the usual common men and that he will do what he can to find a position for him working for the state rather than just for him. At the banquet he explains to Wolsey that the difference between the Spanish and English appetite (that Wolsey had alluded to) was the result of the English being "freer souls"; the Spanish using all their money to buy fancy clothes. The three great evils of the Spanish , he states, are pride, the Inquisition and their problems with eating. He grants Wolsey's request to take Cromwell onto his staff. In Act 4 after the Chorus has announced Wolsey's death, Gardiner (formerly Wolsey's man and now Bishop of Winchester), discusses Wolsey's plots against the state with the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas More, Sir Christopher Hales, and Cromwell. Hales, More and Gardiner comment on how the wheel of state brought the proud Wolsey down.
He asks Cromwell's forgiveness as he prepares to execute him.
He is present when Cromwell is arrested, proclaiming to all present except Cromwell, who has not yet arrived, that Cromwell is declared a traitor.
He is a blacksmith who works for Thomas Cromwell's father ("Old Cromwell"). He opens the play talking to two colleagues (Will Smith and Tom Smith) about work and drinking. In Act 2, looking for Thomas Cromwell in Antwerp, he talks about the problems of sea sickness sailing there. When he finds him he gives young Cromwell local gossip from home and agrees to travel with Thomas to Italy. He next appears with Cromwell, with whom he exchanges banter, begging in Florence both, having been robbed. After being helped by Frescobald, Cromwell takes Hodge (called "Clown" SD 3.2) to Bononia, to rescue the Earl of Bedford, besieged in an inn. Hodge makes it clear to the Earl that he has shoed Bedford's horse. He and Bedford change clothes, Hodge remaining behind while Bedford pretending to be Hodge, escapes to Mantua with Cromwell. Alone, Hodge, dressed in the earl's clothes, talks of how nobility has grown on him so that he feels the characteristic melancholy of nobles. He sits in Bedford's study and writes a letter full of local gossip explaining he is surrounded by "polonian sausages." He sings. When the Governor of Bononia thinks he is writing about English nobles, Hodge throws comic insults at him. When the messenger arrives announcing that Bedford and Cromwell have reached Mantua and that Hodge should be released, he explains that he is in fact Hodge of Putney. Later, when Cromwell is at the top of his power, Hodge goes before Cromwell's grand procession and gets the destitute Frescoball to stand up and move.
He is the owner of the house surrounded by the French who wish to capture and kill him to which the Earl of Bedford has retreated.
She and her husband are humble inn keepers. They arrive to watch Cromwell passing by, discussing how they had helped Cromwell when he was young, and provided him with the cheese cakes he loved do much. Hodge who is clearing the way for Cromwell's grand procession makes them move. Cromwell recognizes them in the crowd, remembers he owes them money, repays it there, promises the amount of the former debt every year and invites them to dinner that day. They are delighted calling him Old Tom, and my good Lord Tom. At the banquet Cromwell again thanks him.
He is present at the scene of Cromwell's arrest in Lambeth.
LIEUTENANT of the TOWER
He announces to the jailed Cromwell the arrival of the Duke of Suffolk, the Duke of Norfolk, the Bishop of Winchester (Gardiner), the Earl of Bedford, and Sir Richard Ratcliffe. Later he announces the entry of Cromwell's son, Harry.
Several messengers figure in the play:
- When the Governor of Bononia is talking to Hodge (Cromwell's comic servant) thinking him to be the surrendered Earl of Bedford, the messenger announces that Cromwell and the Earl are safe in Mantua. He conveys the message that Hodge is to be released or Mantua will renege on their truce with Bononia.
- Another announces that Wolsey, More and Gardiner have arrived at Sir Christopher Hales's banquet.
- Another arrives at the house in Bononia to tell Bedford the French have hired a Neopolitan who has promised to deliver Bedford into their hands without shedding a drop of blood.
- And another tells Bedford that Gardiner, Suffolk and Norfolk have s summoned him to Lambeth Palace. He leaves with and delivers Bedford's warning letter to Cromwell, a letter which Cromwell doesn't open until after he has been condemned to death.
MORE, SIR THOMAS
He responds to the small talk explanation of the eating habits of the Spanish at Hales's banquet, and comments that it's good to drink healths unless you drink too many and they make you ill. When nobles discuss the fall of Wolsey, Hales, More and Gardiner discuss how the wheel of state brought the proud Wolsey down. When Cromwell is knighted, appointed to the privy council and made Master of the Rolls and modestly expresses his unworthiness of the honours, More observes that it is wise of Cromwell to seem to refuse them.
He and Crosbie are two merchants whom Banister has to dinner so that they call collect heir bonds in (he is now rich enough not to worry about the money he owes. In a following scene they discuss how reliable Banister is at repaying his loans to them and then talk about the bitter hostility between Cromwell and Gardiner.
NORFOLK, DUKE of
In Act 4 after the Chorus has announced Wolsey's death, Gardiner (formerly Wolsey's man and now Bishop of Winchester), discusses Wolsey's plots against the state with the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas More and Sir Christopher Hales. Norfolk and Gardiner ask Cromwell for the writings Wolsey has given him and Cromwell offers them up. Norfolk announces that Cromwell has been appointed to the Privy Council and takes him off to see the king.. Norfolk replies to Gardiner, both members of Cromwell's grand procession through London, when Gardiner has commented that Cromwell will come to a sad end, that he dislikes Cromwell but the king loves him. When Gardiner has witnesses insist that Cromwell had said he wished a dagger in King Henry's heart, Norfolk questions them and agrees to have Cromwell arrested and executed by next morning. In the scene of Cromwell's arrest Norfolk announces the traitor's arrival and gives orders that Cromwell's men should be killed if they try to defend Cromwell. He announces that it is time the king heard about Cromwell's actions and refuses Cromwell's request to speak with his men before he is taken away. Cromwell leaves for prison remarking to Norfolk that he will be next to fall. In the last scene Norfolk tells Cromwell the king had been informed of Cromwell's cause. (Although very soon after the execution a reprieve comes from the king.) Norfolk closes the play announcing that he will go to the king.
He appears at the end announcing he has Cromwell's head.
Cromwell sends the Post to Frankfurt to prepare for English travelers on their way to Florence.
RATCLIFFE, SIR RICHARD
He is named in Cromwell's execution scene but is utterly silent. It seems the name is a misprint for Sir Ralphe Sadler who speaks several times in this scene but whose entry is not announced.
He and his wife, Joan, humble inn keepers, arrive to watch Cromwell passing by, discussing how they had helped Cromwell when he was young, and provided him with the cheese cakes he loved do much. Hodge who is clearing the way for Cromwell's grand procession makes then move. Cromwell recognizes them in the crowd, remembers he owes them money, repays it there, promises the amount of the former debt every year and invites them to dinner that day. They are delighted calling him Old Tom, and my good Lord Tom. At the banquet Cromwell again thanks him.
SERGEANT at ARMS
He announces to Cromwell he has been arrested.
He announces the arrival of the two witnesses whom Gardiner will persuade to lie about Cromwell.
They say nothing but are present at Hales's feast for Wolsey, More and Gardiner.
He is the servant who carries in the food at the banquet Cromwell gives for the ordinary people he knows.
Also called 2 Smith. He works for Thomas Cromwell's father ("Old Cromwell") with Hodge and Will Smith (1 Smith). He jokes with young Cromwell when the latter asks the smiths not to hammer.
Also called 1 Smith. He works for Thomas Cromwell's father ("Old Cromwell") with Hodge and Tom Smith (2 Smith). He opens the play talking about how young Thomas Cromwell studies so hard.
These are people of rank.,who appear with the army of the Bononian governor.
SUFFOLK, DUKE of
After the Chorus has announced Wolsey's death, Gardiner (formerly Wolsey's man and now Bishop of Winchester), discusses Wolsey's plots against the state with the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas More and Sir Christopher Hales. When Norfolk and Gardiner ask Cromwell for the writings Wolsey has given to him and Cromwell offers them up, Suffolk explains the king will reward him for his fine behaviour. He knights Cromwell and takes him off to the king. Suffolk is present at Cromwell's banquet but says nothing. When Gardiner has witnesses confirm that Cromwell had said he wishes a dagger in King Henry's heart, Suffolk agrees to have Cromwell arrested and executed by next morning. In the scene of Cromwell's arrest Suffolk tells his soldiers to kill Cromwell's men if they draw their swords. He tells Cromwell his matter will be tried (although it won't be). In the last scene he explains to Sir Ralph Sadler that the reprieve for Cromwell from the King has arrived too late.
At Cromwell's banquet which Old Cromwell, Frescobald and Seeley attend, the Usher tells the visitors to remove their hats.
WITNESS, FIRST and SECOND
They agree, when Gardiner has absolved them with holy water, to state that they heard Cromwell say he wished a dagger in King Henry's heart. They appear before Suffolk and Norfolk and Bedford and confirm Gardiner's accusations against Cromwell.
He attends Hales's banquet with More and Gardiner. During the small talk he mentions the difference in customs between the Spanish and English regarding the names of meals and the quantity of meat each eats, how the Spanish eat very little. He then addresses Hales's man (Cromwell) asking him for his view on the various courts of Europe. Pleased with Cromwell's reply he asks Hales if Cromwell can work for him (Wolsey). He makes him his private secretary and ends the act foretelling that Cromwell will continue to rise. In Act 4 after the Chorus has announced Wolsey's death, Gardiner (his former "man" and now Bishop of Winchester), the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas More and Sir Christopher Hales discuss Wolsey's plots against the state. Norfolk and Gardiner ask Cromwell for the writings Wolsey has given him and on his knees Cromwell offers them up, explaining that he grieves Wolsey's death but not his fall. Hales, More and Gardiner comment on how the wheel of state brought the proud Wolsey down.
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