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King John

From Academic Kids

This article is about the Shakespearian play. For the English monarch, see John of England. For other kings named John see Kings named John'.'

King John is one of the so-called Shakespearean histories, plays written by William Shakespeare and based on the history of England. The play dramatises the reign of King John of England, son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England.

The play opens with a demand from the French King Phillip for King John to abdicate in favor of his nephew Arthur I, Duke of Brittany, son of his elder brother Geoffrey. The five acts then depict a dizzying change of alliances, a Papal excommunication and subsequent acceptance, and the play ends finally with King John's death at the hands of a monk.

Throughout the play, a character known as "The Bastard" delivers a sceptical commentary on nobility, "commodity" (self-interest) and English sovereignty.

It is sometimes considered odd that, in the entire play, Shakespeare never mentions the Magna Carta, since this is what King John is best remembered for today. It should be remembered though, that this event was not yet considered to be of any great moment in Shakespeare's time. Also, the focus of Shapespeare's play is on the quarrel over the succession, and he might not have thought it relevant to his story anyway.

Cast

  • Philip, King of France (Philip II of France)
  • Louis, the Dauphin (future Louis VIII of France)
  • Lymoges, Duke of Austria
  • Cardinal Pandolph, the Pope's Legate
  • Melune, a French Lord
  • Chatillion, ambassador from France to King John
  • Lady Faulconbridge, widow of Sir Robert Faulconbridge
  • Lords, heralds, etc.

External links

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