From Henry VI, Part III, analyze William Shakespeare's quote "Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course."

Expert Answers info

Blaze Bergstrom eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write4,286 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In act 3, scene 1, Henry appears in a forest, disguised and carrying a prayer book. Thinking that he is alone, he speaks aloud while trying to figure out his next steps in recovering his kingdom, which the Yorks have taken over. First addressing himself as “Harry,” he asks rhetorically how he can help his subjects if he cannot first help himself. Changing his tactic, using the literary device called apostrophe (which includes personification), Henry directly addresses adversity as if it were a person, namely his opponent.

Reversing the situation of opposition, rather than confront an adversary on the battlefield, he treats the enemy as his intimate friend.

Let me embrace thee, sour adversity,

For wise men say it is the wisest course.

His words are at odds with his tone, however. In supplicating this opponent, he is requesting rather than commanding: “let me embrace thee.” This tone indicates his lack of confidence, as does the way he uses variants of “wise”: “wise men say”...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 618 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write4,270 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial