Consider the representation of events within this play. Do things seem to happen for a reason, or do they seem random? What do you think the sequence of events says about the unfolding of history?
Consider questions of legitimacy within this play, including John and the Bastard. What is the difference between law and will, and how does that difference affect each of their claims to legitimacy? What seems to be the play's prevailing suggestion about legitimacy?
What is the role of the women in this play?
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?