The Life and Death of King John

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

The Life and Death of King John, a history play by William Shakespeare, dramatises the reign of John, King of England (ruled 1199–1216), son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England. It is believed to have been written in the mid-1590s but was not published until it appeared in the First Folio in 1623.

John (24 December 1166 – 19 October 1216), also known as John Lackland or Softsword, was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death. His reign saw the loss of the duchy of Normandy to the French king Philip II in 1204, resulting in the collapse of most of the Angevin Empire and the subsequent growth in the power of the Capetian dynasty over the rest of the 13th century. The baronial revolt at the end of John's reign saw the signing of the Magna Carta, a document often considered to be an early step in the evolution of the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Contemporary chroniclers were mostly critical of John's performance as king, and his reign has since been subject to significant debate and periodic revision by historians from the 16th century onwards. Historian Jim Bradbury has summarised the contemporary historical opinion of John's positive qualities, observing that John is today usually considered a "hard-working administrator, an able man, an able general". Nonetheless, modern historians agree that he also had many faults as king, including what historian Ralph Turner describes as "distasteful, even dangerous personality traits", such as pettiness, spitefulness and cruelty. (summary from Wikipedia)


Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, nephew to the king - DerekP

Blanch, of Spain, niece to King John - Elizabeth Barr

Cardinal Pandulph, the Pope's legate - Lars Rolander

Chatillon, ambassador from France to King John - TriciaG

Constance, mother to Arthur - Arielle Lipshaw

English Herald - Tina Nuzzi

Essex, earl of Essex - Algy Pug

Faulconbridge, son of Sir Robert Faulconbridge - Martin Geeson

First Citizen and First Executioner - Lars Rolander

French Herald - Nadine Eckert-Boulet

Hubert de Burgh - - Timothy Ferguson

James Gurney, servant to Lady Faulconbridge - - Martin Geeson

King John, king of England - John Fricker

King Phillip, king of France - Ric F

Lady Faulconbridge, wife to Sir Robert Faulconbridge - Julie Parmenter

Lewis, the Dauphin- David Nicol

Lord Bigot - G ZED

Lymoges, duke of Austria - rigbyjm

Melun, a Fench Lord - Nadine Eckert-Boulet

Messenger - Tina Nuzzi

Pembroke, earl of Pembroke - bish

Peter of Pomfret, a prophet - Martin Geeson

Philip the Bastard, illegitimate son of Sir Robert Faulconbridge - Elizabeth Klett

Prince Henry, son to King John - Amy Gramour

Queen Elinor, mother to King John- Sandra G

Salisbury, earl of Salisbury - Algy Pug

Narrator - David Lawrence
Audio edited by Algy Pug

Genre(s): Tragedy

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Dramatis Personae Group 00:03:01
Play 02 Act 1 00:16:10
Play 03 Act 2 00:33:19
Play 04 Act 3 00:35:34
Play 05 Act 4 00:30:45
Play 06 Act 5 00:29:48