The Tragedy Of Tragedies; Or, The Life And Death Of Tom Thumb The Great

by Henry Fielding
Start Free Trial

"Half Seas Over"

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on August 24, 2016, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 296

Context: Henry Fielding, certainly one of the great comic writers of all time, is probably best known for Tom Jones, but before he was a novelist he was a dramatist. Most of his dramas are farces, several containing biting satire of contemporary political figures. Tom Thumb, however, is a parody of the absurdly bombastic heroic tragedy of the Restoration and early eighteenth century. Here Fielding burlesques not only hundreds of verbal absurdities from serious tragedies, but he also appends a set of comic footnotes by "H. Scriblerus Secundus," extending the burlesque to criticism as well. The play concerns the doings at the court of King Arthur and his queen, Dollallolla, "a woman entirely faultless, saving that she is a little given to drink, a little too much a virago towards her husband, and in love with Tom Thumb." Thumb, the miniature hero, loves the princess Huncamunca, who loves both him and Lord Grizzle. The play opens with a celebration because Thumb is returning from defeating the giants and brings as a captive their queen, Glumdalca, who has fallen in love with Tom and with whom the king immediately falls in love. In the second scene the king is proclaiming the celebration when the courtier, Doodle, brings a petition:

Illustration of PDF document

Download The Tragedy Of Tragedies; Or, The Life And Death Of Tom Thumb The Great Study Guide

Subscribe Now


KING
Petition me no petitions, Sir, to-day;
Let other hours be set apart for business.
To-day it is our pleasure to be drunk,
And this our queen shall be as drunk as we.
QUEEN
(Though I already half seas over am)
If the capacious goblet overflow
With arrack punch–'fore George! I'll see it out:
Of rum, and brandy, I'll not taste a drop.
KING
Though rack, in punch, eight shillings be a quart,
And rum and brandy be no more than six,
Rather than quarrel you shall have your will.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial