The Funeral of Henry VII and the Drama of Death

Sam Wood

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199566471
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

The Funeral of Henry VII and the Drama of Death

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This article considers the pageantry of Henry's funeral, questioning what it is about. It suggests that the answer lies with the living participants and spectators and the funeral, with its strict order and display of rank. Henry's funeral is a deeply affective and participatory drama that reconstitutes the community in the face of death, and it succeeds not least because it is aided by a set of religious beliefs in which death is part of a spiritual journey and the church is a conceived as a community of the living and dead. But this success comes at the expense of Henry. The life and reputation of Henry VII, the funeral of Henry VII, the drama of power, the drama of religion, and the drama of culture are discussed.

Keywords: funerals; pageantry; death; religious beliefs; community; drama

Article.  6751 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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