Course Hero Logo

King John | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "King John Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 May 2018. Web. 30 May 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, May 7). King John Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "King John Study Guide." May 7, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2023.


Course Hero, "King John Study Guide," May 7, 2018, accessed May 30, 2023,

King John | Scene Summaries

See Scene Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • About 1200

    King John refuses to acknowledge Arthur's right to rule England.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Soon after

    English and French armies prepare to besiege Angiers.

    Act 2, Scene 1
  • That day

    In Angiers war with France is narrowly averted by a royal marriage.

    Act 2, Scene 1
  • Not long after

    Pandulph excommunicates the insolent King John on the pope's behalf.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Immediately after

    Pandulph urges Philip to break the treaty and continue fighting against England.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Within days

    Fighting resumes between England and France.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • During the war

    English forces capture Arthur, whom Hubert brings back to England.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • Almost instantly

    King John secretly orders Arthur's assassination.

    Act 3, Scene 3
  • Soon after

    French forces prepare to invade England.

    Act 3, Scene 4
  • Meanwhile

    Ordered to kill Arthur, Hubert cannot bring himself to do so.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Days later

    John has himself re-crowned to the dismay of his noblemen.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • Almost immediately

    A group of "angry lords" defect from King John to France.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • Within hours

    John sends Hubert and the Bastard to make peace with the lords.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • Shortly after

    Allowed to escape, Arthur dies in a suspicious-looking accident.

    Act 4, Scene 3
  • As war continues

    John makes peace with the pope.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • Meanwhile

    The Dauphin defies the pope by continuing to wage war.

    Act 5, Scene 2
  • Autumn 1216

    King John falls ill and retires to Swinstead Abbey.

    Act 5, Scene 3
  • Soon after

    Poisoned by a monk, John dies at Swinstead after an earlier reconciliation with his barons.

    Act 5, Scene 7
  • Immediately after

    The English nobility depart to seek peace with France.

    Act 5, Scene 7

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 At his palace in England, King John receives an ambassador from the French king, Philip II. Also present are John's moth... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 Act 2 consists of a single massive scene, set outside the French city of Angiers. First to enter is Philip II of France,... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 Back at the French king's pavilion near Angiers, Constance, "full of fears," reacts negatively to the news of peace. Art... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 This short scene dramatizes a battle between the French and English armies. The Bastard enters the stage, bearing the se... Read More
Act 3, Scene 3 The battle at Angiers has ended. King John enters with Queen Eleanor, the captive Arthur, the Bastard, and Hubert. He te... Read More
Act 3, Scene 4 Still at Angiers, King Philip of France complains to Cardinal Pandulph about his army's losses and England's safe retrea... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 At a castle (in Normandy or England; Shakespeare does not specify), King John's servant Hubert instructs some executione... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 At his palace in England, King John has been crowned again in the presence of the Earls of Pembroke and Salisbury. His n... Read More
Act 4, Scene 3 Back at the castle where he was held prisoner, Arthur has donned a disguise and climbed to the top of the wall. He now d... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 At his palace King John ceremonially receives the crown from Cardinal Pandulph, who has reconciled England to the pope. ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 2 In the French camp at St. Edmundsbury, Louis, the Dauphin is receiving the English defectors: Lord Bigot and the Earls o... Read More
Act 5, Scene 3 On the battlefield King John receives bad news from Hubert and divulges his own failing health. A messenger from the Bas... Read More
Act 5, Scene 4 Elsewhere on the battlefield, Lord Bigot and the Earls of Salisbury and Pembroke commiserate about the strength of the E... Read More
Act 5, Scene 5 This final battlefield scene takes place in the French camp, where the Dauphin is congratulating himself on an evident v... Read More
Act 5, Scene 6 The scene shifts to the environs of Swinstead Abbey, where King John lies sick. Hubert and the Bastard enter the stage s... Read More
Act 5, Scene 7 In the orchard of Swinstead Abbey, Prince Henry reports some grim news to Lord Bigot and the Earl of Salisbury. King Joh... Read More
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about King John? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!