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Word Count: 721
In the soliloquy from Shakespeares 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 Henrys state of mind is conveyed through the soliloquys powerful images revealing word choice and peculiar sentence structure Interestingly Henrys combination of concrete and figurative language to describe different social situations creates an atmosphere of polarity While a repetition of rhetorical questions exemplifies the kings frustration with sleep King Henrys use of literary techniques portrays an elevated status and his mutating tone displays a gradual rise in anger Moreover King Henrys 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 Natures 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 IVs state of mind as his self-loathing is replaced by anger towards sleep Additionally to convey Henrys disturbed state of mind Shakespeare employs contrastingly intense imagery in order to allow the reader to draw comparisons between Henry and his subjects Englands monarch is thus described as reclining in the perfumd chambers of the great while his subjects repose in smoky cribsupon uneasy pallets His description of his own living quarters includes alliteration such as canopies of costlysound of sweetestkingly
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