Why does Tom make this statement in Chapter 14 of The Prince and the Pauper?He says in court, "We be going to the dogs, 'tis plain, 'tis meet and necessary that we take a smaller house and set the...

Why does Tom make this statement in Chapter 14 of The Prince and the Pauper?

He says in court, "We be going to the dogs, 'tis plain, 'tis meet and necessary that we take a smaller house and set the servants at large".

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom makes this very practical suggestion,

"We be going to the dogs, 'tis plain.  'Tis meet and necessary that we take a smaller house and set the servants at large",

when he learns that King Henry VIII, who has just died, has spent far beyond his means and has left an enormous debt.  The secretary reads him

"a preamble concerning the expenses of the late king's household, which had amounted to 28,000 (pounds) during the preceding six months - a sum so vast that it made Tom Canty gasp; he gasped again when the fact appeared that 20,000 (pounds) of this money were owing and unpaid; and once more when it appeared that the king's coffers were about empty, and his twelve hundred servants much embarrassed for lack of the wages due them".

Tom's response to the situation described to him is actually completely logical; when one is overextended financially, it is common sense to cut expenses and live more simply.  His royal court, however, thinks his suggestion is a result of what they perceive to be his mental imbalance, and tactfully guide him to be silent, and give his "royal assent" to even more measures of wasteful spending, in keeping with expectation.  The author is presenting this situation as a satire, poking fun at the excesses of royalty in England during the time of Henry VIII (Chapter 14).

 

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The Prince and the Pauper

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