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Publisher's Summary

King John of England is pitted against the united powers of France, Brittany, Austria, and the Papacy. Will England be destroyed by his fatal indecision?
As alliances are made, broken, and remade, the paranoid and erratic John reveals his weakness and reliance on those around him - including his powerful mother, Queen Elinor, and Faulconbridge, the cynical and witty bastard son of the dead King Richard I.
In this early history play, King John is played by Michael Feast, the Bastard by Michael Maloney, and Constance by Eileen Atkins.
Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 05-08-17

Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale

“Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.”
― William Shakespeare, King John, Act III.4

All I want is the bastard. I want Stoppard to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead King John. The Universe revolves, uncorked around the Bastard not the King. I'm not sure who I want to play the Bastard, but he needs to be Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, and Edmund Kean all unwrapped, warped, and twisted into one. He needs to be unhinged, demonic, and perfect: a ballet dancer -- spitting bullets and drenched in virtue's fire. The Bastard Philip demands it. Every play Shakespeare writes gives me a character I want to carry in my pocket. The Bastard proves I own no pockets large enough for Shakespeare's coin. Enough. I need to cool down. Think rationally. Gather my wits. The play itself was soft. 3-stars, small planets, at most, but I round my review up, as I round my day, week, and May up because I discovered the Bastard Philip today (and Lady Constance wasn't too shabby either).

How can you not love THIS,
a soliloquy on self-interest?

Mad world! mad kings! mad composition!
John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole,
Hath willingly departed with a part,
And France, whose armour conscience buckled on,
Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear
With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,
That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith,
That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids,
Who, having no external thing to lose
But the word 'maid,' cheats the poor maid of that,
That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity,
Commodity, the bias of the world,
The world, who of itself is peised well,
Made to run even upon even ground,
Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
This sway of motion, this Commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent:
And this same bias, this Commodity,
This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France,
Hath drawn him from his own determined aid,
From a resolved and honourable war,
To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
And why rail I on this Commodity?
But for because he hath not woo'd me yet:
Not that I have the power to clutch my hand,
When his fair angels would salute my palm;
But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
And say there is no sin but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be
To say there is no vice but beggary.
Since kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Diana S. Long on 01-15-18

Emotionally charged

I listened to the Arkangel full cast recording of the play along with reading in E Book format from the Delphi Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This is one of the history plays by Shakespeare published in 1596 and depicts the reign of “the Magna Carta” king, I can't say for sure but he might not have been viewed by history in a good light as he does appear to be a tad bit villainous. France's King supports Prince Arthur and his mother as the rightful heirs of England's throne as Arthur is the son of the eldest brother of John. King John is not having any of this treachery and goes to France where they end up fighting. Forget the fighting, a wedding ensues and we are enjoying this when a pesky messenger from Rome enters and spoils all the fun. Once again swords are drawn and the clash of medal rings out from the battlefield, well what's this..the English absconds with young Arthur....dire deeds are afoot and France comes to the rescue..well almost...some pretty intense moments here and when the play comes to an end, I am emotionally drained. Exciting and entertaining, however just reading the E Book without the audio would not make it so. I am enjoying reading and listening to Shakespeare this way, highly recommend.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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