Happy Labor Day!

Yesterday, we discussed the incredibly repetitive first half of Act Two, Scene One of King John, culminating with the revelation that the Bastard son of Richard I is the strongest leader on stage (and he’s not eligible to be king, strictly speaking).

The scene continues as, even after the kings and their heralds have presented their arguments, Hubert, the citizen of Angiers, sill will not come to a decision as to which English king they will recognize.

The Bastard has had it with these Angierians (?); he comes up with a temporary solution: “Be friends awhile and both conjointly bend // Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town” (II.i.379-380). England and France will join forces, kick the crap out of Angiers, then “after fight who shall be king of it” (II.i.400). Facing this ensured defeat, Hubert comes up with an alternative.

What if King John’s niece Blanche married Louis the Dauphin? England and France would be united.

Problem solved.

Except…

The Bastard can’t believe this opportunity to kick ass on the battlefield: “I was never so bethumped with words // Since I first called my brother’s father dad” (II.i.467-468). Eleanor likes the idea. King John likes the idea. Even Louis likes the idea. All of this enrages the Bastard even further, but the marriage is agreed to.

In an attempt to placate the “sad and passionate” (II.i.544) overwhelming anger of Constance, bitter over her Arthur being left out of the royalty of England, King John agrees to make Arthur the Earl of Richmond.

again, sounding more and more like Hotspur

Again, the scene ends with the Bastard alone on stage. He is dumbfounded by the ways of the royal world. He “rail(s)” (II.i.593) that world.

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