King John | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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King John | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about William Shakespeare's King John. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

The Bastard, Act II, Scene I ince kings break faith upon Commodity, Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee! Sources: British Library, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Folger Shakespeare Library, Royal Shakespeare Company Copyright © 2018 Course Hero, Inc. King John & the Papacy John and the supreme pontiff had a strained relationship. The Troublesome Raigne Shakespeare’s sources include this 1591 telling of John’s life. Troublesome Reign The real-life King John was a deeply unpopular monarch. Context Young Duke of Brittany; John’s reluctant rival forthe English throne Arthur “Half-royal” commander of the English army; the play’s cynical chorus of one The Bastard Ruler of France; initiallybacks Arthur’s claims tothe English throne King Philip II Hapless monarch; struggles to defend England from a French invasion King John Main Characters Shakespeare based 10 plays—more than a quarter of his dramatic output—on the history of England and its many rulers. Of theseworks, King John dramatizes the earliest events, occurring during the reign of this unfortunate and ineffectual monarch from 1199 to 1216, more than a century before the time of the play Richard II. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 1564–1616 Author In an England torn by rebellion, loyalty is among the rarest virtues of all. Loyalty All want power and control, but by the play’s end, none have obtained it. Control Self-interest and expediency masquerade as duty and self-sacrifice. Commodity King John of England finds his throne contested by his nephew Arthur, whose claim is backed by the French. A meddlesome cardinal breaks a fragile peace, and France invades an already divided England. John falls ill and languishes as his kingdom nearly goes down in flames. Rebellion at Home, Invasionfrom Abroad THEMES English Original Language c. 1594–96 Years Written William Shakespeare Author King John History Play

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