Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 2, Scene 1


some bad news today. let's jump directly into the play.

act 2, scene 1
King Philip arrives at Angiers, a French town, with Lewis (the Dauphin), the Duke of Austria, Arthur, and Arthur's mother Constance. they are awaiting John's answer to their demand that Arthur be named king. Austria swears his allegiance to France's struggle. the king's herald enters with word back from John, provoking him to war.
King John enters with the Bastard, Eleanor, and his niece, Blanche. John and Philip argue over who has the right to the throne. the moms of Arthur and John get involved, family fighting family, which prompts Arthur to declare that he would rather be dead than have all this going on over him. they pay him no mind, and continue to argue.
a citizen of Angiers appears on the wall to the city. both kings give their version of the story to convince him to let them into Angiers. the citizen won't let any of them in until the dispute is over. at that point, they will allow the 'rightful' king in. Angiers refuses to take sides. they continue to try to get in and it continues not to work. the Bastard is ready to go to war over it, but the kings continue to ask the citizen to be let in.
at the Bastard's suggestion, Philip and John decide to join forces to fight Angiers. this makes the citizen a little nervous, so he offers an alternative solution: if Blanche and the Dauphin get married, everyone but Constance will gain and perhaps be happy enough to drop the dispute. Lewis proclaims that he has suddenly fallen in love with Blanche. (see quote below.) Blanche says that if John thinks it's a good idea, she will do it. the match is made, and the kings decide that this is enough for them. only Constance and Arthur (who doesn't want to be king anyway) are left in the lurch. John will make Arthur the duke of several places and England will have a princess married to a French prince. everyone exits and the Bastard scrolls the kings' craziness.

how old is Arthur?

why is Austria helping Philip? does he have ulterior motives, how does he benefit from any of this?

speaking of ulterior motives, what is going on with Philip (the Bastard)? why is he so blood-thirsty? why is he so hungry for war? i'm not quite sure i fully understand his last monologue. also, is he doubting the validity of Lewis' proclamation of love? what is that all about?

last but not least, i am enjoying this play but oh my word was this section repetitive! holy cow! they asked the citizen the same thing over and over and stated their cases over and over. we GET IT. i hope the rest of the play isn't like this.

quote of the day:
'i do, my lord, and in her eye i find
a wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
the shadow of myself formed in her eye,
which, being but the shadow of your son,
becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow.
i do protest i never loved myself
til now unfixed i beheld myself
drawn in the flattering table of her eye.'

for tomorrow: act 3, scene 1

-rebecca may

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