King John

EPUB EBook by William Shakespeare

EBook Description

It's been a while (high school!) since I've read Shakespeare, and the pleasures of his language and verse- EPUBflow were almost completely lost on me at that time. King John EPUB EBookLike many youths who are required to read the Bard at an obscenely young age (Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet were assigned in middle school for goodness’ sake), I viewed his verse and language as impediments to the story, which was sometimes pretty interesting to a distracted, pimply youth.But fast-forward a few years and here I am nearly worshiping at the aesthetics alter with Harold Bloom.So in short, yes, I enjoyed reading this even if the story and themes weren't as compelling or valuable as those in some of Shakespeare's more famous plays.The flow, the language, the language, the flow: delicious.

It seems that this play is one of the least-read in the Bard’s oeuvre, so here’s a brief overview of the story:

King John claims the throne of England after the death of his brother Richard (The Lionheart of Crusade fame), whose will stated that John should be the next king.The only problem is that the laws of succession dictate that John’s older brother Geoffrey is next in line and since he’s already dead, his son Arthur is the rightful king.King Philip of France, looking to stir up trouble and increase his power in the region, is backing Arthur’s bid (side note: Arthur doesn’t really give a shit, but his mom’s got a hankering for that queen-mother spot).Some battle ensues.The Bastard (see below) is pumped for continuing the war with France, but someone else suggests that John’s niece marry Philip’s son to secure John’s claim to the throne while France gets some extra land.(Still following?)The pope’s emissary then stirs up more trouble by briefly excommunicating John and forcing France to abandon the newly improved English-French relationship.John fixes things with the Vatican but not before the relationship with France has degenerated and he’s become embroiled in a small controversy at home involving the killing of Arthur (who, as you’ll remember, has a claim on the English throne as well).I won’t spoil the ending, but…nothing terribly exciting happens anyway.I’m not sure how historically accurate this whole story is, but I was surprised that in a play about King John the Magna Carta never managed to come up.That was kind of a big deal, wasn’t it?

So but none of the characters are terribly interesting except one: The Bastard.He finds out at the beginning of the play that he is Richard the Lionheart’s illegitimate son, which birth status he loves.So he gives up all of his entitled land to accept this royal (if illegitimate) standing.He’s basically a big, brash guy who loves battle, hates cowardice, and constantly berates and belittles people of legit birth and higher rank.In other words, in an otherwise-dry history play, the Bastard really steals the show.His comic timing is excellent; download; his frequent interruptions, particularly of the Duke of Austria, are relentless, abusive, and hilarious.Acts II and III offer up some laugh-out-loud moments, and there are many clever double-entendres scattered throughout.In the end, it’s all about the plot-pushing Bastard; he singlehandedly justifies giving this one a shot.
Like this book? Read online this: Word Play - The John Simpson Collection, Primer on Roman Catholicism (John Gerstner (John Gerstner (1914-1996)).

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