Shakespeare Reading Series
King John is the historical story of the battle for the English throne between King John and his nephew, Arthur, who was supported by Phillip II of France. There is a lot of confusion with lots of Earls, a bastard son, the Pope, excommunications, battles, and domineering mothers adding to the fun. How will it turn out? Who will sit on the throne?
|The play is filled with great speeches by
Constance's and Eleanor's 'bedlam' in Act II
Constance's reaction upon hearing that Lewis and Blanche are to wed in Act III, scene 1
The Bastard's insults to the French in Act V, scene 2.
Some interesting tidbits about the play:
Most people know King John as the signer of the Magna Carta in 1215. The event is not referred to at all in the play.
Some good references for the play are:
Text of the play
SparkNotes summary of the play
BBC on-line - Bad King John
Britannica.com - Monarchs of England/Great Britain
Shakespeare timeline - 1603
The Magna Carta
The Life and Death of King John (1984)
King John (1899 Silent Film)
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Last updated: 08/03/02