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King John

William Shakespeare

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Suggested Essay Topics

Suggested Essay Topics

Suggested Essay Topics

Suggested Essay Topics

Consider legitimacy verses ability in terms of a ruler's desirability, with particular reference to John and Arthur.

What is the role of the church in this play? Consider Pandolf and the monasteries.

Consider the Bastard's conclusion. He speaks of the unconquerable nation--unconquerable unless divided internally. To what do you think he refers? Is this a warning?

Discuss Arthur's fate; cheated out of the throne, browbeaten by his mother, captured, threatened with assassination, he escapes only to fall to his death. What kind of fate seems to be functioning in Arthur's world? Is his life a smaller version of the fate playing elsewhere in the play?

Consider the absence of actual battles in this play. Unlike other historical plays, the battles take place offstage, or not at all, after much buildup. Why do you think this happens this way in this play?

Compare the Bastard with John. Focus on the Bastard's transformation through the play, and any changes John experiences. Does one end up looking better than the other? Why or why not?

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