Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 3, Scenes 1 and 2


what a great scene today! i was getting worried yesterday, but today's scene was great. i zipped right through it. check it out:

act 3, scene 1
Constance, Arthur's mother, is freaking out big time about Lewis and Blanche's wedding and the fact that King Philip has broken his oath with her to battle England until Arthur takes the throne. she gives a kick butt monologue about her situation (see quote below.) both kings, he newlyweds, Eleanor, the Bastard, and Austria enter, discussing how happy they all are. Constance curses the day and yells at Philip, saying 'you are forsworn, forsworn!' Austria tries to calm her down, and she calls him out hard core for being a brown-noser. all of a sudden, a cardinal arrives, sent from the Pope. he demands that John give up the throne. he is directly confronting the Pope by taking power unlawfully. John, of course, refuses. the cardinal informs him that he will be cursed and excommunicated and anyone who kills him will be considered a hero. the cardinal then turns his attention to King Philip. If France doesn't turn from England and battle England for Rome, he will suffer the same fate as John. Philip really really struggles with what to do and everyone tries to sway him. most surprisingly, Lewis tells him to break from England even though his new English wife begs him not to. Philip finally decides to break his new pact with England for the good of himself and his country. Blanche is torn between the two, but must go with Lewis. both kings leave with their entourages to prepare their armies.

act 3, scene 2
mid-battle, the Bastard enters with the head of Austria. John enters with Arthur captive. he is worried that his mother, Eleanor, has been taken prisoner, but the Bastard reassures him that she is safe.

so good! so much happened and the psychology behind everyone's decisions was so complex and interesting. read this scene! there are some stellar monologues and the Bastard has some hilarious bits running throughout.

i understand why Constance is upset, but she seems to be upset with Philip on a really personal level. my theory is that she slept with or has been sleeping with him. i mean, she came from his quarters for cryin' out loud.

the insulting jokes in this scene are hilarious. biting. they balance out the extreme desperation occurring throughout the scene perfectly. check out around 125-200ish in particular. so good!

quote of the day:
'if thou that bidd'st me be content wert grim,
ugly, and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,
lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
hatched with foul moles and i-offending marks,
i would not care, i then would be content,
for then i should not love thee, no, nor thou
become thy great birth nor deserve a crown.
but thou art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and Fortune joined to make thee great.
of Nature's gifts thou may'st with lilies boast,
and with the half-blown rose. but Fortune, Oh,
she is corrupted, changed, and won from thee.
sh'adulterates hourly with thine Uncle John,
and with her golden hand hath plucked on France
to tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
and made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to Fortune and King John,
that strumpet Fortune, that usurping John!
tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?
envenom him with words, or get thee gone
and leave those woes alone which i alone
am bound to underbear.'
   -Constance; act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 3, scenes 3 and 4

-rebecca may

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