Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Life and Death of King John Act 5, Scenes 3-7


it's my birthday! yay! i had a lovely midnight call from one of my best friends, followed by an alarm going off 3 hours later, rehearsal, Sweet Tomatoes, nap, and now who-knows-what! we will be on our way to our final destinations for the evening in just a few minutes. i will read my Shakespeare in the car, and either finish my blog tonight when i get home or (if it's too late) tomorrow when i wake up! have a good night!


act 5, scene 3
Hubert reveals to King John that the war isn't going so well, and John complains of a fever. a messenger delivers the news that France's much-needed supplies never reached them because of a shipwreck. John's fever is so bad that he can't even enjoy the good news.

act 5, scene 4
Melun, wounded and near death, finds Salisbury and co. to deliver some important news: they have been 'bought and sold.' even though they have sworn allegiance to the French, the Dauphin plans to cut their heads off if they win. they need to run back to England and beg John for forgiveness a.s.a.p. the lords, who aren't complete idiots after all, desert once again, this came to run back to England and beg beg beg.

act 5, scene 5
the Dauphin receives word from a messenger that Melun is dead, the lords have left, and his shipment has sunk. he is not very happy, but is undeterred.

act 5, scene 6
the Bastard and Hubert run into each other, and we learn that King John has been poisoned by a monk, his food taster. the monk took one for the team and actually poisoned himself in the process. Hubert also reveals that the lords are back and have been forgiven by John. the Bastard, very concerned for the king, rushes back to him.

act 5, scene 7
Prince Henry, John's son, discusses his father's health with the lords. King John would like to join them outside. he believes the fresh air will do him some good. John enters. in the grips of death he is hostile and hopeless. the Bastard arrives to pay respect to his beloved king. John asks for an update on the war, and the Bastard delivers the news that the Dauphin continues to fight. right at the tail end of this bad news, King John dies. no one is very happy with the Bastard for that, because what he didn't know was that some sort of peace (at least for the moment) has been established with France. everyone swears allegiance to Prince Henry, and the Bastard delivers the play's final sentiments. (see quote below.)

it's kind of random, but i am really intrigued by this whole idea of the taster. so this person tries all of the king's food to make sure none of it is poisoned, but this guy eats the food knowing there is poison in it because he is THAT committed to killing him. so what... did he fake feeling fine after he took the bite? you'd think the king would wait a few minutes after the tasting to see if anything bad happened. what's the point of having the taster if you just eat the food right away? the logic seems a little faulty to me. the whole idea is interesting though. i'd love to read a play or story about that guy- the taster who killed King John. pretty freaking crafty of him if you ask me. i wonder if it is true, or Shakespeare's imagination.

i have to be honest and say that i was a little disappointed by the ending. it felt a little anticlimactic to me. sure John dies, but his son that we've never met before in the play takes the throne. i was like- who is this kid? am i supposed to care that he will be king? am i missing some significance here? i guess for the English at the time that would have been a little more interesting? also, the lords who left get off scott free even though they've deserted both sides. we don't ever find out Philip's reaction to these goings on and the whole thing with France is kind of unresolved. overall i really enjoyed this play, but the end didn't wrap things up for me.

quote of the day:
'o, let us pay the time but needful woe,
since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.
this England never did, nor never shall,
lie at the proud foot of a conqueror
but wen it first did help to wound itself.
now these her princes are come home again,
come the three corners of the world in arms
and we shall shock them. naught shall make us rue,
if England to itself rest but true.'
   -Bastard; act 5, scene 7

for tomorrow: sonnets 30-35

10 plays, 4 poems, 29 sonnets down. 28 plays, 1 poem, 125 sonnets to go.

-rebecca may

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