Printer Friendly

'Both are alike, and both alike we like': sovereignty and amity in Shakespeare's King John.

King John (1595/7?) is probably Shakespeare's least popular play: it is rarely performed and has received less critical attention than any of his other plays. (1) When discussed the play is usually criticized for its lack of unity, design and plot structure; its inconsistency in terms of style, characterization and historical focus; and its failure to resolve the ethical, cosmic and political issues it raises. (2) Critics regard it as Shakespeare's adaptation of the anonymous play The Troublesome Raigne of King John (printed 1591) for his acting company, or his less than successful transition play, written between the two tetralogies. (3) Of late, King Johns anomalous status in Shakespeare's canon has been reassessed. Critics have argued that it is a proto-modernist experiment with an alternative way of dramatizing history by presenting it as a random, chaotic series of events lacking providential guidance or order. (4) Others have explored the political and religious resonance's of this play, which presents national division, an excommunicated English monarch and a failed foreign invasion, would have had for its first audiences. (5) This essay offers a new way of interpreting the play by reading it within the context of early modern friendship discourse, and, in particular, its interconnection of amity with sovereignty. Although many scholars have considered the representation of male friendship in Shakespeare's plays, particularly his comedies, King John has been, as it usually is, ignored. (6) Yet the discourse of early modern friendship reverberates in King John, especially in the rhetoric and actions of its central male characters, counterbalancing the play's pervasive scepticism about transcendent values and moral absolutes, its emphasis on human fallibility and corruption, and its focus on personal isolation. Bonds of friendship are rectifying alternatives to the play's ever shifting, expedient political alliances; and it is the disruption of relations of amity that divides England, opening it up to the threat of foreign invasion and making it a 'foreign' place, where, as the Bastard (Falconbridge) laments, 'I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way / Among the thorns and dangers of this world.' (7)

Shakespearean Amity

In the early modern period, as Alan Bray demonstrates, ideas about friendship were in a state of transition: amicable bonds based on feudal notions of kinship were being replaced by relations based on affection and affinity. (8) Renaissance Humanism played a central role in this conceptual shift by celebrating ideal male friendship as the most perfect human relationship and stressing its importance in the public world of social mobility, patronage and civic virtue, and in the private one of intimacy, affection and companionship. (9) Humanist writers, including Erasmus, Michel de Montaigne and Francis Bacon, drew on classical ideas from Cicero's De amicitia, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Seneca's De beneficiis, to offer their readers a theoretical framework through which friendship could be understood and practised. (10) Their ideas were disseminated in essays, pamphlets, grammar books, conduct books and translations of classical texts, making ideal friendship a ubiquitous concept in early modern literature and culture. (11) Cicero, whose De amicitia was most influential, defined ideal friendship as a relationship between two virtuous men, who were in 'complete agreement in aims, ambitions, and attitudes', equal in rank and aspired to mutual moral and intellectual improvement. (12) Ideal friendship meant 'one soul in bodies twain': the friend as a second self or another self; it implied constancy and exclusivity, was not based on utility or pleasure, and had a wider social and moral function. (13) Shakespeare, like other early modern dramatists, appropriated, tested and critiqued this notion of friendship, demonstrating its impractical, unrealistic nature, and, instead, valorized a whole range of less than perfect friendships, such as those based on kinship, fellowship, patronage or mentorship, and those that were political or hierarchical. (14) This interrogation of ideal friendship on the public stage indicates the pervasiveness of this discourse, while, at the same time, effecting its perpetuation.

Although amity and friendship were used interchangeably in this period, amity referred specifically to friendships that had a public character, especially relations between states and between powerful individuals. (15) Predominantly, Shakespeare uses amity to connote political alliances; the word is most frequently used in the history plays, where it refers to political pacts that create peaceful, harmonious relations between countries or within countries. In Henry IVPart II, King Henry seeks to mend 'the division of our amity' (III.i.75) and restore what his son Prince John calls the 'love and amity' (VI.i.300) between the monarch and the nobility; this division was caused by Henry's deposing of Richard II. In Henry VI part I, the eponymous king is also attempting to create accord in the realm, in particular between two of his nobles, Gloucester and Winchester, by joining their 'hearts in love and amity' (III.i.71); however, the play demonstrates how easily 'alliance, amity and oaths' become 'false dissembling guile' (IV.i.62-3) and that if the right marriage--in this instance to the daughter of the Earl of Armagnac--can create a 'knot of amity' between England and France (V.i.16), the wrong one--to Margaret of Anjou--will further divide England and perpetuate antagonistic relations with France. These national divisions lead to the War of the Roses, depicted in Henry VI part III and in Richard III, in which marriages are used to forge political amity; for example, in Henry VIpart III, Henry's son Edward is encouraged to marry Lady Bona in order to establish 'a league of amity' with King Lewis of France (Ill.iii. 53). (16)

King John contains the most occurrences of the word in Shakespeare's canon, and, unlike the other history plays, presents political amity as a personal relationship between the kings of England and France, who hold hands on the stage and allude to ideals of male friendship to reinforce the permanence and equality of their bond. Like other early modern plays, this one demonstrates the way in which marriage ratifies amity between foes but can also cause renewed discord. (17) As well as exploring friendships between two kings, the play also focuses on King John's friendships with two of his followers, Hubert and the Bastard (Falconbridge). Although these hierarchical friendships deviate from the Ciceronian ideal, they become paradigmatic, underlining the importance of amity and facilitating through example such bonds.

The play begins with King Philip of France, through his emissary Chatillion, referring to the 'borrowed majesty' of John, questioning his legitimacy and laying claim to John's territories in England, Ireland and France on behalf of Arthur, the son of John's elder brother Geoffrey and by the law of primogeniture the 'right royal sovereign' (I.i.4, 15). Philip, having made an alliance with Arthur's mother Constance, threatens John with 'fierce and bloody war' if he does not relinquish the throne (I.i.17). Highly insulted, King John sends Chatillion back to Philip with a declaration of war and then orders his own troops to prepare for battle. Queen Elinor, John's mother, reminds him that this could have been avoided had he followed her advice and made an alliance with Constance:
   This might have been prevented and made whole
   With very easy arguments of love,
   Which now the manage of two kingdoms must
   With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.

Her speech establishes the central opposition in the play between bloody war and bonds of amity; in addition, connecting amity with contested majesty, she implies that these 'arguments of love' would have legitimized John's sovereignty, which, she adds, is based on 'strong possession much more than [his] right' (I.i.40).

In Act 2, once in France, King John and his army march to the walled town of Angier's, which is the capital of John's French territories, where they meet King Philip and his army. The French and English kings make their respective claims about who is the legitimate ruler of England, John or Philip (speaking on Arthur's behalf) to the citizens of this walled town. Their speeches are convoluted and exaggerated, and each king offers equivalent reasons as to why he should be accepted as king. (18)

However, the Citizen, speaking for the town of Angier's, refuses to choose between these similar arguments, declaring that Angier's will only open its gates to 'he that proves the king [of England] / To him will we prove loyal' (II.ii.276-7). The English and French armies go into battle to prove who is the legitimate sovereign; but this also ends in stalemate. To overcome this impasse, the Bastard, King John's other nephew, proposes that the English and French:
   Be friends awhile, and both conjointly bend
   Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town.
   By east and west let France and England mount
   Their battering cannon charged to the mouths,
   Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawled down
   The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city:
   I'd play incessantly upon these jades,
   Even till unfenced desolation
   Leave them as naked as the vulgar air:
   That done, dissever your united strengths,
   And part your mingled colours once again:
   Turn face to face, and bloody point to point:
   Then in a moment Fortune shall cull forth
   Out of one side her happy minion,
   To whom in favour she shall give the day,
   And kiss him with a glorious victory.

The Bastard's 'wild counsel' exposes the potential power of amity as well as its often expedient, brief and changeable nature; and to advantage themselves John and Philip agree to 'knit [their] powers' (II.i.403, 405). Unhappy with this proposal, the Citizen of Angier offers a counter suggestion of 'peace and fair-faced league', a 'friendly treaty' between England and France, achieved through the marriage of Lady Blanche, John's niece, and Lewis, Dauphin of France (II. i. 425, 490). Commenting on Blanche's 'beauty, virtue, birth' and drawing on Neo-Platonism, the Citizen argues that this alliance will combine and reconcile the differences between Blanche and Lewis, as well as those between England and France, and that each will complete the other (II.i.440):
   He is the half part of a blessed man,
   Left to be finished by such as she
   And she is a fair divided excellence,
   Whose fullness of perfection lies in him.

Within this discourse of love, Lewis and Blanche become one flesh (which is the opposite of classical amity in which two male friends become a unified soul); however, their courtship and marriage is negotiated, organized and arranged by the two kings as a means of joining the two countries in friendship. (19) Here, as in Shakespeare's other plays, marriage is a means of resolving disputes over political legitimacy and authority, and Queen Elinor urges John to agree to 'this knot that shalt so surely tie / Thy now unsured assurance to the crown' (II.i. 479-80). (20) Similarly, when the French king learns of the lands and riches this alliance brings, he unhesitatingly reneges on his earlier pact with Constance and Arthur (II.i.549-59). Likewise, on hearing of the 'titles, honors and promotions' included as part of Blanche's dowry (Ihi.501), Lewis romanticises this political exchange by drawing on Petrarchan cliches of transformation:21
   ... and in her eye I find
   A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
   The shadow of myself formed in her eye,
   Which, being but the shadow of your son,
   Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow.

Blanche is exchanged as a sign of friendship between men and submits unquestioningly to her uncle's will. Unlike the other female characters in the play, Constance and Elinor, Blanche functions as the creator rather than the disruptor of male bonds. (22) Both the bride and groom are pawns in a political and financial transaction, which King Philip calls 'amity' and the Bastard regards as motivated by 'commodity', by which he means self-interest (II.i.546, 583). (23)

A Pair of Kings

The personalisation of this political bond is also noticeable in Shakespeare's representation of John and Philip's friendship. With the exception of The Winter's Tale, King John is the only play in which two reigning sovereigns express their friendship in an intimate way. (24) Philip calls John 'Brother of England' twice (II.i.556; III.i.88) and Act three begins with the two kings entering the stage holding hands, and presumably they remain so for most of the first scene. (25) This vision of a pair of kings hand in hand recalls contemporary images of male friendship, such as George Wither's 1635 emblem of good faith (Bona fide), which shows two hands joined over a crowned heart; this uses the love of two sovereigns to represent the constancy, loyalty and true affection of ideal friendship, as well as consent and agreement between two virtuous and equal men. (26) This scene in King John recalls the imperative of sameness in ideal friendship, as well as early modern preferences for likeness over difference. This 'heteronormativity', as Laurie Shannon terms it, meant that tropes of parity and resemblance fundamentally shaped ideas and knowledge in this period, as well as enabling the creation of legal contracts. (27) This sovereign friendship and handholding, of course, imply a similitude that legitimizes John's disputed kingship; their friendship also differentiates these kings from Shakespeare's other monarchs, who usually are or become friendless, and for whom kingship is a burden that separates them from the rest of humanity, as Henry IV puts it in Henry IV part 2, 'Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown' (III.i.31). Despite the associations between sovereignty and amity, the king is precluded from 'exercising the very gestures and capacities friendship celebrates' because friendship is associated with equality, parity, mutuality, similitude and reciprocity, and a king's friendships, because of his unique position, must be unequal for any other type of friendship would compromise his sovereignty. (28) Marlowe's Edward II shows that a king jeopardizes his political identity if he attempts to make his friend, in this case Gaveston, an equal and thereby deny the monarch's absolute difference from those he rules. In King John, Shakespeare adds a pair of kings to his repertoire of doubles, duplicates and twins, and resolves, at least temporarily, the king's anomalous position in a culture that values resemblance, sameness and likeness.

The play prepares its audience for this kingly friendship by stressing the kings' similarity, equality and inter-changeability in the previous acts. (29) Not only does each king use similar, overblown rhetoric to make his respective claims to sovereignty over Angiers, their individual armies are equal in terms of strengths and bravery, leading to a military standoff. (30) As so often happens in Shakespeare's comedies, the amplification of similarity leads to confusion: the citizens of Angier's are unable to choose between what amounts to the same; this demystifies the unique position of the monarch and makes the establishment of legitimacy, which is the play's overriding theme, impossible. (31) Rather than being paradigmatic, parity and likeness lead to a political conundrum. As the Citizen tells the French and English heralds:
   Heralds, from off our towers we might behold,
   From first to last, the onset and retire
   Of both your armies, whose equality
   By our best eyes cannot be censured:
   Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answered blows:
   Strength matched with strength, and power confronted power:
   Both are alike, and both alike we like.
   One must prove greatest. While they weigh so even,
   We hold our town for neither, yet for both.

For the Bastard, this problem is an effect of the 'undetermined differences of kings', meaning the irresolvable nature of their quarrel and their likeness; he goes on to call them 'equal potents, fiery kindled spirits!' who use their soldiers to prove a 'difference' which may not exist (II.i.362, 365). As in other friendships between equals, duplication leads to enmity rather than rather than amity. As Tom MacFaul argues, 'perfect and equal friends can be too similar to one another, and stand too closely in one another's social and dramatic space'. (32) The impasse is resolved by the Citizen's suggestion of marriage, which will, as it frequently does in other early modern texts, 'ensure productive social relations'. (33)

When Constance, Arthur's mother, hears of this new political alliance between England and France, she rebukes Philip for breaking his vow to her, referring to Philip's 'counterfeit / Resembling majesty' and describing his amity with John as 'painted peace' (III.i.25-6, 31). Calling on Heaven to 'Set armed discord 'twixt these perjured kings', Constance is answered by the immediate arrival of the Pope's legate, Cardinal Pandulph (III.i.37). The Cardinal excommunicates John for challenging the Pope's authority in England and threatens to do the same to King Philip if he does not sever his alliance with England. In response, Philip passionately begs not to be asked to choose between loyalty to Rome and fidelity to England.Although it presents the same event, Shakespeare's literary source, The Troublesome Raigne, has no equivalent speech: in this play, Philip just renounces his bonds with John. (34) In contrast, Shakespeare's Philip presents this political alliance as an affective bond, visually reinforced by their hand holding and rhetorically couched in the language of ideal male friendship:
   This royal hand and mine are newly knit,
   And the conjunction of our inward souls
   Married in league, coupled and linked together
   With all religious strength of sacred vows:
   The latest breath that gave the sound of words
   Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love
   Between our kingdoms and our royal selves...

John is Philip's other self: their souls are knitted together to the point of indistinguishability, evoking the ideal of self-effacing friendship that Montaigne describes in his essay 'Of Friendship' (1580): (35)
   In the friendship I speak of, our souls mingle and blend with each
   other so completely that they efface the seam that joined them, and
   cannot find it again. If you press me to tell you why I loved him,
   I feel that it cannot be expressed except by answering: Because it
   was he, because it was I. (36)

Philip reminds the Cardinal that this amity, which has prevented bloodshed and ended dispute, is a sacred vow sworn before heaven, which, if retracted, would make him and John 'unconstant children':37
   And shall these hands, so lately purged of blood,
   So newly joined in love, so strong in both,
   Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet ?
   Play fast and loose with faith, so jest with heaven,
   Make such unconstant children of ourselves,
   As now again to snatch our palm from palm?
   Unswear faith sworn, and on the marriage-bed
   Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,
   And make a riot on the gentle brow
   Of true sincerity?

Although Philip's allusion to 'the marriage-bed / Of smiling peace' presumably refers to the marriage of Lewis and Blanche, this marital bond merely symbolizes the more privileged male homosocial bond between the kings. (38) For Philip, the marriage, in which Lewis and Blanche complete each other and become one flesh, is subordinate to his and John's marriage of souls. The ideas that their souls are 'married in league', coupled by 'all religious strength of sacred vows' and that their amity is 'deep-sworn faith' take us beyond ideals of male friendship to what Alan Bray has identified as a tradition of sworn or wedded brotherhood. (39)

In this play set in the early thirteenth century, Shakespeare offers his audience an example of the kind of public contract of voluntary kinship, inaugurated by a formal religious ceremony, which was one of the means of achieving peace between enemies in the medieval period. As Alan Bray points out, 'The friendships created by a vow of sworn brotherhood ... were part of the wider fabric of obligation and friendship that constituted England's traditional society'. (40) These feudal rituals continued in Shakespeare's period, demonstrating that declarations of friendship were not sufficient and that these important bonds needed to be strengthened by religious oaths:
   The bound friendship of the past was predicated on suspicions of
   treachery and potential enmity, which the rhetoric of love and
   fidelity negotiated: the fear that the friend might prove, in the
   end, to be your enemy. (41)

Although without any support in historical fact and again deviating from his source, Shakespeare implies that Philip and John's amity was a sanctified bond and made, alongside the marriage vows of Lewis and Blanche, at St Mary's chapel in Angier's. (42) This explains Philip's reluctance to dissolve his alliance with John, in comparison to his rather nonchalant attitude to breaking his oath to Constance (II.i.549-52, 554-9), and his need for the Cardinal's permission. The Cardinal tells him, 'It is religion that doth make vows kept; / But thou hast sworn against religion' (III.i.210-11): in other words, although this vow of amity was made in a church, because it is detrimental to the Church, it has no validity. At this point, Philip drops John's hand and renounces their league. John reacts angrily:
   France, I am burned up with inflaming wrath,
   A rage whose heat hath this condition:
   That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,
   The blood, and dearest-valued blood, of France.

John's anger is fuelled by the personal nature of the bond as his reference to 'dearest valued blood, of France' indicates. Under Pandulph's threat, Philip severs his pact with John, as he has done with Constance, for his own advantage. (43) Interestingly, in the play the French make and break alliances more frequently than the English; this duplicity is most sinister in the final act, when Melun, a French soldier, tells the English nobles (Salisbury, Bigot and Pembroke) who have joined with the French, that Lewis intends to have them executed once the invasion of England is complete. Melun tells them that he and Lewis have sworn this 'Upon the altar at Saint Edmundsbury; / Even on that altar where we swore to you / Dear amity and everlasting love' (V.iv.15-19). By giving them this information, Melun betrays the Dauphin, but does so because his grandfather was an Englishman and owing to his great love for one of John's subjects, Hubert. Opposed to the pervasive duplicity of the French and the precarious nature of their alliances is the steadfastness of two of John's servants, this same Hubert and the Bastard; these Englishmen remain true to John and in the last two acts of the play attempt to correct and rectify his flawed sovereignty.

Hierarchical Friendships

If King John explores the conflicts within the feudal system 'between collective identities and the individual, between centralized royal authority and independent nobles, and between Church and State', (44) it also makes clear that in the midst of these competing ideologies individuals subvert expectations and act out of affection, loyalty and friendship. (45) This summons up Aristotle's suggestion that 'friendship would seem to hold cities together ... For concord would seem to be similar to friendship and [the rulers] aim at concord above all, while they try above all to expel civil conflict, which is enmity'. (46) Aristotle suggests that in many ways friendship and justice are very similar and have the same concerns; like justice, friendship offers an ethical code of behavior which has civic benefits and is opposed to tyranny. (47) John's power seems less the result of ceremony or his invoking of notions of 'sacred kingship' and more to do with his close relationships with Hubert and the Bastard. (48)

Deviating from Cicero's ideal friendship between two sovereign-like men, each confident, self-sufficient, virtuous and wise, John's unequal friendships bolster his sovereignty at a time of great dissatisfaction among his people. (49) However, a friendship with a monarch could be the most advantageous as well as the most fraught relationship; the monarch's favor could cause jealousies and dissent within the realm, and as a result these friendships needed to be carefully chosen and tested. While both Hubert and the Bastard seek, on some level, social advancement, there are many historical and literary precedents for regarding these royal servants as John's affectionate friends. (50) In 'Of Friendship' (1625), Francis Bacon notes the dangers of monarchs having favorites, but also the fact that both weak and wise kings join 'to themselves, some of their servants; whom both themselves have called friends; and allowed others likewise to call them in the same manner; using the word which is received between private men'. (51) Unlike a flatterer, the true friend of the king will offer wise counsel, which 'is drier, and purer, than that which cometh from [the king's] own understanding, and judgment', and, according to Bacon, 'there is no such flatterer, as is a man's self; and there is no such remedy, against flattery of a man's self, as the liberty of a friend! (52) Like Bacon, Montaigne believes that 'corrections' is 'one of the chief duties of friendship'.53 Not only are Hubert and the Bastard in different ways wise counselors, at various points in the play, they become John's other, second or better self. In so doing, they exceed Montaigne's idea of mutuality:
   Our souls pulled together in such unison, they regarded each other
   with such ardent affection, and with a like affection revealed
   themselves to each other to the very depths of our hearts, that not
   only did I know his soul as well as mine, but I should certainly
   have trusted myself to him more readily than to myself. (54)

As John's representatives, Hubert and the Bastard behave as John should have in similar circumstances, and in so doing they reinvent him as the kind of king he never was, fabricating through their actions the virtue, sanctity and power of his monarchy. Despite other flaws in John's character, his choice of friends is good; and this validates Baldesar Castiglione's suggestion:
   For to be sure it stands to reason that persons who are joined
   together in close amity and indissoluble companionship should also
   conform in their wishes, thoughts, opinions and aptitudes ... Hence
   I think it is right to take great care in forming [Court]
   friendships, for of two close friends whoever knows one immediately
   assumes the other to be of the same character. (55)

In King John, it is the king rather than the courtier whose reputation is enhanced by the friends he associates with. Reversing Marlowe's Edward II, in which Edward's choice of favorite destroys his reputation and leads to his doom, Shakespeare's King John presents John's choice of favorites as his most ennobling action. Whereas Edward's friendship with Gaveston weakens his sovereignty, John's power as a king is strengthened by his friendships with Hubert and the Bastard.

The audience is first introduced to Hubert in Act 3, scene 2, when John coyly asks that he murder Arthur. Deviating from The Troublesome Raigne, in which John simply tells Hubert, 'For on [Arthur's] life doth hang thy Soveraignes crowne, / But in his death consists thy Soveraignes blisse', Shakespeare draws attention to the nature and terms of John's request and the consequences of these for Hubert. (56) Although he might have simply ordered Hubert to kill Arthur, John asks that this task be done as an act of friendship:
   Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
   We owe thee much: within this wall of flesh
   There is a soul counts thee her creditor
   And with advantage means to pay thy love:
   And my good friend, thy voluntary oath
   Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
   Give me thy hand: I had a thing to say
   But I will fit it with some better tune.
   By heaven, Hubert, I am almost ashamed
   To say what good respect I have of thee.

Having humbled himself to express this level of respect, and while holding his hand and calling him 'gentle Hubert' and then 'Good friend', John tells Hubert that he will repay him for all the good he has done. Their hand-holding recalls the earlier scene between John and Philip, as does John's figuring of their friendship as a communion of souls. Although John equivocates a great deal in what follows, he underlines the dangers of sharing his thoughts; drawing on the mutuality and confidentiality of ideal friendship, John wishes his thoughts were already known to Hubert without them having to be spoken (III.ii.60-5). As Barbara H. Traister notes, 'not once in the scene does John say anything to break the illusion that this conversation is taking place between two old and dear friends'. (57) When Hubert responds by suggesting that even if it causes his own death he will perform any action John requests, he summons up personal sacrifice as the ultimate expression of friendship. (58) Again, calling Hubert his friend, John asks:
   Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
   On yon young boy: I'll tell thee what, my friend,
   He is a very serpent in my way,
   And whereso'er this foot of mine doth tread,
   He lies before me: dost thou understand me ?
   Thou art his keeper.

Having promised that Arthur will no longer offend John, Hubert vows that 'He shall not live', to which John replies 'Hubert, I love thee' (III.ii.85). It is clear that John seduces Hubert not merely with the promise of reward but by confirming their bond of amity. Moreover, John's request to Hubert is presumably whispered and everything about the scene suggests the men are intimate; this scene, as Rebecca Ann Bach notes, is homoerotic and exemplifies the way male homosocial bonds create social order in the history plays. (59)

When Hubert arrives at the moment when he must fulfill the King's desire, which is now to blind rather than kill Arthur, he is unable to do so. Whereas Shakespeare's source, The Troublesome Raigne, focuses on the conflict Hubert experiences between duty to the king and the demands of conscience, Shakespeare's play makes it clear that the reason Hubert cannot kill Arthur is because of his affection for the boy and their friendship. (60) From the beginning of the scene, Hubert is afraid that Arthur's words will 'take possession of [his] bosom' and that 'resolution [will] drop / Out of [his] eyes in tender womanish tears' (IV.i.34, 38). To a large extent, this scene replicates the previous one between John and Hubert, except here it is Arthur who expresses his great love for Hubert. Arthur imagines their friendship as a 'familial relationship', telling him, 'I would to heaven / I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert' (IV.i.25-6) and offers to care for Hubert when he is sick (IV.ii.54-8). (61) For the second time, Hubert is the loved object of a royal figure: Arthur suggests that he would rather lose his tongue than his eyes, so that he could go on seeing his friend:
   Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
   So I may keep mine eyes. O, spare mine eyes,
   Though to no use but still to look on you.

Throughout the scene, Arthur tells Hubert that he does not look like himself; and it is only when Hubert refuses to kill that Arthur sees his friend again: 'O, now you look like Hubert, All this while / You were disguised' (IV.i.134-5). Out of affection for the boy, Hubert fails to fulfill his promise to John, betraying their friendship and his sworn vow (IV.i.63). Hubert tells Arthur, 'I will not touch thine eye / For all the treasure that thine uncle owes' nor 'for the wealth of all the world' (IV.ii.130-1, 140), implying that he chooses friendship rather than personal advancement, while the scene suggests that Hubert's conflict is between two competing affections for rival monarchs, John and Arthur. (62)

In order to appear as if he has fulfilled his vow to John, Hubert spreads the rumour that Arthur is dead, which makes the king, who is suspected of arranging the murder, unpopular among his nobility and people (IV.ii.165-9). Calling Hubert to him, John blames Hubert for misinterpreting him: 'I had a mighty cause / To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him' (IV.ii.212-3). He then adds:
   It is the curse of kings to be attended
   By slaves that take their humours for a warrant
   To break within the bloody house of life,
   And on the winking of authority
   To understand a law, to know the meaning
   Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns
   More upon humour than advised respect.

John re-imagines the killing of Arthur not as the deed of a friend but as the act of a slave who cannot read his master's true intentions and instead obeys what was merely a whim. John blames Hubert's 'abhorred aspect', which he found 'fit for bloody villainy / Apt, liable to be employed in danger' (IV.ii.231-3) and condemns Hubert for obeying immoral orders in the hope of gaining royal favors: 'And thou, to be endeared to a king, / Made it no conscience to destroy a prince' (IV.ii.235-6). Despite signing the warrant, John regards Hubertt as the person who has cause 'Hostility and civil tumult' in England (IV.ii.254). However, when Hubert reveals that Arthur is not dead, John, taking back his harsh comments, sees Hubert as his true friend and a friend of England. By refusing to kill Arthur, Hubert betrays the terms of his friendship with John, yet this means he is a better friend, who makes peace between John and his soul (IV.ii.257). (63) Moreover, Hubert treats Arthur with the affectionate amity, which John should have shown to his nephew. After Arthur's death when he falls from the prison wall, Hubert's affection is very clear, particularly when he is accused by the nobles of the murder: 'I left him well: / I honored him, I loved him, and will weep / My date of life out for his sweet life's loss' (IV. iii.108-10). Having removed Arthur's body from the stage, Hubert's role in the play diminishes, but he remains the king's loyal servant, administering to him after he has been poisoned by a monk ( (64)

Even more so than Hubert, the Bastard (Falconbridge) proves himself to be John's truest friend. The Bastard is a composite figure: he is a cynical, witty observer, an illegitimate outsider, a self-professed opportunist, and a figure reminiscent of Vice from the Morality plays. Yet he goes on to voice one of Shakespeare's most patriotic speeches, in which he connects England's security and stability to the bonds of amity. (65) In Act one, the Bastard rejects his given identity and the inheritance due to him as the first son of Falconbridge, and instead chooses to accept his position of illegitimate son of Richard I, Coeur-de-lion, swearing loyalty to Elinor and agreeing to follow her 'unto the death' (I.i.155). Throughout the play, the Bastard offers the audience candid observations about the world around him; in his first soliloquy he berates court life, the excessive politeness of the nobility and courtiers, the language of 'worshipful society' and its 'dialogue of compliment', but intends to imitate this falseness so he can rise in the world (I.i.206-17). (66) In France, the Bastard favors war and bloodshed, which he associates with action, vigour and masculinity, and grows ever more distrustful of language, diplomacy, alliances and oaths. (67) His firsthand experience of kingly fraudulence makes him determined to imitate it, so he can serve his own interests: 'Since kings break faith upon commodity, / Gain be my lord, for I will worship thee' (II.i.607-8). However, in the last two acts of the play, the Bastard acts in the interest of his monarch and country rather than himself.

As John's most trusted friend and ally, the Bastard collects taxes from 'hoarding abbots' (III.ii.19), ransacks churches (III.iii.174) and mediates between John and his disgruntled nobility (IV.ii.170-3). The Bastard's attitude toward John never changes, even when he sees Hubert bearing Arthur's body away; although the Bastard does betray his anger at the state of his beloved country:
   I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way
   Among the thorns and dangers of this world.
   How easy dost thou take all England up!
   From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
   The life, the right and truth of all this realm
   Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
   To tug and scramble and to part by th' teeth
   The unowed interest of proud-swelling state:
   Now for the bare-picked bone of majesty
   Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
   And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace.

In the final act of the play, the Bastard disguises the failing power of the monarch with confident and authoritative rhetoric; the Bastard's ability to say the right thing at the right time is in sharp contrast to John's increasing silence and increasingly subordinate position in the play. John gives the Bastard control of his armies, 'the ordering of this present time' (V.i.79), and in both action as well as speech the Bastard displays an assertive masculinity, in contrast to John's inaction and his submission to Rome (V.i.1-5). John's failures as a king are supplemented by the Bastard's abilities, in particular when he becomes John's proxy before the French army: (68)
   Now hear our English king,
   For thus his royalty doth speak in me:
   He is prepared, and reason too he should:
   This harness masque and unadvised revel,
   This unheard sauciness and boyish troops,
   The king doth smile at, and is well prepared
   To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,
   From out the circle of his territories ...
   No: know the gallant monarch is in arms
   And like an eagle o'er his eyrie towers,
   To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.

The Bastard's king-like abilities may derive from his resemblance to his father. In Act one, it is made clear how much he looks like Coeur-de-lion rather than Falconbridge, his supposed father; and this is commented upon by Elinor and John:
   Elinor: He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face:
   The accent of his tongue affecteth him.
   Do you not read some tokens of my son
   In the large composition of this man?
   King John: Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
   And finds them perfect Richard.

The Bastard possesses the sovereign qualities of his father, which King John lacks, and the former, much loved king is brought back to life through his son. This is evident not only in the Bastard's rhetorical skills, but also in his soldiery, as Salisbury notes the way 'That misbegotten devil Falconbridge / In spite of spite, alone upholds the day' (V.iv.4-5).

Like Camillio and Paulina from The Winter's Tale, or Kent from King Lear, the Bastard tells John about the true state of his realm, in particular about the disquiet among his people (IVii.146-9). The Bastard is a 'good blunt fellow' who offers good counsel, beyond court politeness and contrived servicce (I.i.72). (69) This counse includes the Bastard telling John that he must display the attributes that constitute kingship: (70)
   Be great in act as you have been in thought.
   Let not the world see fear and sad distrust
   Govern the motion of a kingly eye:
   Be stirring as the time, be fire with fire,
   Threaten the threatner and outface the brow
   Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes
   That borrow their behaviors from the great,
   Grow great by your example, and put on
   The dauntless spirit of resolution.
   Away, and glister like the god of war
   When he intendeth to become the field:
   Show boldness and aspiring confidence.

Here the Bastard attempts to invest John with the 'public image of majesty and power that has been absent from John's version of Kingship'; (71) he aims to reinvent King John as a war-like masculine king, recreated in the image of Coeur-de-lion, complete with the masculine confidence and assurance of rhetorical skills and military prowess. (72)

After John's death, the Bastard organizes the succession of John's son Henry; the suggestion is that as well as acting as protector of the new king, the Bastard will, as he did with John, offer good counsel: 'I do bequeath my faithful services / And true subjection everlasting' (V.vii.108-9). (73) The Bastard delivers such counsel in the final speech of the play:
   This England never did, nor never shall
   Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
   But when it first did help to wound itself.

With the confidence and self-assurance of a sovereign, the Bastard wishes to rekindle the affection and loyalty of true friendship among England's divided people: (74) His blunt message is that national unity and safety are constituted through the formation and maintenance of such bonds. The Bastard goes on to herald the coming of a new time of peace, which is the result not of the death of John or the undisputed ascension of Henry to the throne, but the reestablishment of amity in England:
   Now these her princes are come home again,
   Come the three corners of the world in arms,
   And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue,
   If England to itself do rest but true.

These 'princes' refer to the noblemen, Salisbury, Pembroke and Bigot, who joined with the French because of John's corruption and collusion in Arthur's death. Having found Arthur's dead body, Salisbury swears a 'holy vow' to avenge the prince's death, which Pembroke and Bigot echo, promising 'Our souls religiously confirm thy words' (IV.iii.67, 73). The play delineates the great distress these men felt during their period within the enemies' ranks (V.ii.24-9). For example, Salisbury withdraws to weep 'Upon the spot of this enforced cause--/ To grace the gentry of a land remote, / And follow unacquainted colours here' (V.ii. 29-32). Of course, their return to John's side breaks the vow they made on seeing Arthur's dead body, and their renewed national loyalty is merely a reaction to Melun's information that the Dauphin plans to have them murdered. Their return emphasises the fragility as well as the importance of vows of amity, which are the prerequisites to peace, national coherence, unity, agreement and accord, placing an onus on both sovereign and subjects. In this respect, the Bastard's final speech, perhaps, indirectly alludes to John's signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, which limited the king's powers and made him subject to the law, and as a result established the rights for freemen in his realm. (75)

King John deviates from the anti-papal propaganda of its sources, including The Troublesome Raigne, by engaging with the issue of sovereignty, but also, as this essay has demonstrated, connecting this with amity. (76) What this essay has aimed to demonstrate is the importance of amity as a motif within the play. This is evident throughout the play, even in one of its shortest scenes, in which Hubert and the Bastard meet but do not at first recognise each other. The Bastard tells Hubert that he is 'A friend' and then calls him by name. At this Hubert remarks, 'Thou had a perfect thought: / I will upon all Hazards well believe / Thou art my friend, that knows my tongue so well.' ( The coming together of these two friends and allies of John marks the end of conflict within the play and the beginning of a new period of amity. In this scene, Hubert reveals that John has been poisoned by a monk and that the rebel lords, Salisbury, Bigot and Pembroke, have returned to England's side. In a play dominated by unexpected reversals, unpredictable events, declining values and standards of conduct, amity becomes a means of restoring order and creating peace, particularly between powerful men, which in the other history plays is achieved by providence. (77) The play connects sovereignty and amity in a number of different ways. It offers a brief glimpse of a friendship between two kings, which fulfils the principles of equality and sameness so valued in early modern discourse, but, at the same time, suggests that similitude and duplication lead to rivalry rather than amity. It also emphasizes the religious rituals of voluntary kinship, such as marriage and vows of sworn brotherhood, needed to assure amity, suggesting that formal vows must substantiate the discourse of friendship. As in The Winter's Tale, King John demonstrates the conflict and disarray which occurs when relationships that are at once political and personal break down. Yet opposed to this example of failed friendship between equals are two hierarchical friendships based on loyalty and constancy, but which also have a corrective function. Both of the King's friends are 'second selves' who correct his often flawed and dangerous decisions, and these friendships stabilize and unite England as it falls apart. These bonds become exemplary of the kind of amity necessary to unite England; and in his final speech, the Bastard stresses the importance of friendship between Englishmen as a means of making England strong and invincible against foreign invasion.


(1) Although rarely performed in the twentieth century, King John was popular with theatre-goers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. See G. Cousin, King John: Shakespeare in Performance (Manchester, 1994). For an indication of its critical reception, see D. T. Curren-Aquino, 'Introduction', in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1994), pp. xv-xxii.

(2) D. T. Curren-Aquino, 'Introduction', in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives (Newark, NJ., 1989), p. 11.

(3) See ibid., pp. 11-13; G. Hamel, King John and The Troublesome Raigne: A Reexamination', in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives, pp. 41-61.

(4) See V. M. Vaughan, 'Between Tetralogies: King John as Transition', Shakespeare Quarterly, 35:4 (1984), 407-20; M. Robinson, 'The Historical Methodologies of King John', in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives, pp. 29-40; A. J. Piesse, King John: Changing Perspectives', in M. Hattaway (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare's History Plays (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 126-40.

(5) For example, see P. Rackin, 'Patriarchal History and Female Subversion in King John, in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives (Newark, NJ., 1989), pp. 76-90; D. Kehler, '"So Jest with Heaven": Deity in King John, in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives (Newark, NJ., 1989), pp. 99-113; E. Gieskes, '"He Is But a Bastard to the Time": Status and Service in The Troublesome Raigne of King John and Shakespeare's King John, English Literary History, 65:4 (1998), 779-98; B. Groves, 'Memory, Composition, and the Relationship of KingJohn to the Troublesome Raigne of KingJohn, Comparative Drama, 38 (2004), 277-90.

(6) See L. Hutson, The Usurer's Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in Sixteenth-Century England (London, 1994), pp. 188-238; L. Shannon, Sovereign Amity: Figures of Friendship in Shakespearean Contexts (Chicago, IL., 2002) pp. 156-222; A. Sinfield, Shakespeare, Authority, Sexuality: Unfinished Business in Cultural Materialism (London, 2006), pp. 86-111; T. MacFaul, Male Friendship in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (Cambridge, 2007).

(7) W. Shakespeare, KingJohn, in William Shakespeare: Complete Works, ed. J. Bate and E. Rasmussen (London, 2007), IV.iii.146-7. All subsequent Shakespeare quotations are taken from this edition. Line, act and scene numbers will follow in brackets.

(8) A. Bray, The Friend (Chicago, IL., 2003), pp. 40-1

(9) Hutson, Usurer's Daughter, pp. 1-13, 52-85; Bray, The Friend, pp. 72-6; A. Shepard, Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2003), pp. 115-17, 122-6; K. Thomas, The Ends of Life: Roads to Fulfilment in Early Moderrn England (Oxford, 2009), pp 190-3.

(10) See F. T. Stevens, 'Erasmus's "Tigress": The Language of Friendship, Pleasure, and the Renaissance Letter', in J. Goldberg (ed.), Queering the Renaissance (Durham, NC., 1994), pp. 124-40; A. Stewart, Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England (Princeton, NJ., 1997), pp. xxvi-xxxiv, 122-8; J. Masten, Textual Intercourse: Collaboration, Authorship, and Sexualities in Renaissance Drama (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 28-62; Shannon, Sovereign Amity, pp. 26-7; Thomas, The Ends of Life, pp. 194-212. See also Trevor's essay in this Special Issue.

(11) See Hutson, Usurer's Daughter, pp. 52-86; Shannon, Sovereign Amity, pp. 17- 53; Bray, The Friend, pp. 67-77; MacFaul, Male Friendship, pp. 8-12.

(12) Cicero, 'De Amicitia', in Other Selves: Philosophies on Friendship, ed. M. Pakaluk (Indianapolis, IN., 1991), p. 85. See also R. Hyatte, The Arts of Friendship: The Idealization of Friendship in Medieval and Early Renaissance Literature (New York, 1994), pp. 3-5.

(13) See L. J. Mills, One Soul in Bodies Twain: Friendship in Tudor Literature and Stuart Drama (Bloomington, IN., 1937).

(14) See for examples S. Patterson, 'The Bankruptcy of Homoerotic Amity in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice', Shakespeare Quarterly, 50:1 (1999), 9-32; R. Stretter, 'Cicero on Stage: Damon and Pithias and the Fate of Classical Friendship in English Renaissance Drama', Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 47:4 (2005), 349, 352, 360.

(15) See the definition of amity in the OED. In Shakespeare's plays, although amity is not often used to connote personal relationships, there are exceptions: in Troilus and Cressida, Ulysses jokingly notes the strange amity between Ajax and his caustic slave Thersites (II. iii. 76) ; in All's Well That Ends Well, Lafew longs to re-establish amity with Parolles (II.v.810); in The Merchant of Venice, Bassanio underlines his love for Portia by suggesting its incompatibility with betrayal: 'There may as well be amity and life / 'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love' (III.ii.31-2), and Lorenzo compliments Portia's 'godlike amity' in allowing Bassanio to go to Venice to help his friend Antonio (III.iv.3); in The Winter's Tale Leontes speaks of his regret at his destruction of the amity between him and Polixenes (V.i.162-6); and in A Midsummer Night's Dream, having resolved his dispute with Titania over the ownership of an Indian boy, Oberon declares, 'Now thou and I are new in amity' (IV.i.79). The last two examples, of course, blur the lines between the personal and political amity: Leontes and Polixenes are kings and their personal friendship is always already a form of political amity connecting their respective lands; similarly the restored amity between Oberon and Titania, who are the king and queen of fairyland, symbolises the end of all the various rivalries and jealousies in the play.

(16) In other history plays, amity represents strategic alliances between powerful figures: see RichardIII (I.iii.281-2) and Henry VIII (I.i.210-13).

(17) In Antony and Cleopatra the marriage between Antony and Octavia creates a bond between Antony and Octavius, which Agrippa tells them will 'hold you in perpetual amity / To make you brothers and to knit your hearts / With an unslipping knot, take Antony / Octavia to his wife' (II.ii.148-51). Political amity is assured through reference to the ideals of male friendship and imagery associated with romantic love and marriage. But Enobarbus predicts that this political and familial league will be obliterated when Antony returns to Cleopatra, noting 'He will to his Egyptian dish again: then shall the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar; and--as I said before--that which is the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of their variance.' (

(18) See V. M. Vaughan, King John, in R. Dutton and J. E. Howard (eds), A Companion to Shakespeare's Works: Histories (Oxford, 2003), p. 384; W. Chernaik, Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's History Plays (Cambridge, 2007), p. 73.

(19) G. Chaplin, '"One Flesh, One Heart, One Soul": Renaissance Friendship and Miltonic Marriage', Modern Philology, 99:2 (2001), 280.

(20) See Rackin, 'Patriarchal History', pp. 82-3; Vaughan, King John, p. 385; T. A. Jankowski, 'Hymeneal Blood, Interchangeable Women, and the Early Modern Marriage Economy in Measure for Measure and All's Well that Ends Well', in R. Dutton and J. E. Howard (eds), A Companion to Shakespeare's Works: Poems, Problem Comedies, Late Plays (Oxford, 2003), pp. 89-105; E. A. J. Honigmann, 'Shakespeare's Self-Repetitions and King John, Shakespeare Survey, 53 (2000), 176.

(21) B. H. Traister, 'The King's One Body: Unceremonial Kingship in King John, in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives, p. 94.

(22) See Hutson, Usurer's Daughter, pp. 1-11. As Rackin notes, this marriage also justifies Lewis's claim to the English throne and his invasion of England; Blanche is the victim in this conflict and becomes the 'human embodiment of the many divisions that characterise this play', 'Patriarchal History', p. 84.

(23) See Honigmann, 'Shakespeare's Self-Repetitions', 176; I. McAdam, 'Masculine Agency and Moral Stance in Shakespeare's King John, Philological Quarterly, 86 (2007), 67-95.

(24) For example, see Helena's speech from A Midsummer Night's Dream: 'So we grew together / Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, / But yet a union in partition, / Two lovely berries moulded on one stem, / So with two seeming bodies but one heart, / Two of the first, like coats in heraldry, / Due but to one and crowned with one crest' (III.ii.209-15).

(25) Recent editors of the play suggest that John and Philip, like Blanche and Lewis, probably entered Act 3 hand in hand, see W. Shakespeare, The Oxford Shakespeare, ed. S. Wells and G. Taylor (Oxford, 1986), p. 436. Hand-holding is a sign of amity in the play; for example, Philip takes Arthur's hand (II.i.241-4).

(26) See figure 3, Shannon, Sovereign Amity, p. 39.

(27) Ibid., pp. 19-23, 38-40.

(28) Ibid., pp. 2-3, 10, 13. According to Shannon, ideal amity meant a bond between two self-sufficient and sovereign-like individuals, but excluded the monarch from friendship, which was defined in and through the concept of sovereignty. Shannon quotes the following extract from Montaigne's essay 'Of Friendship': 'This amitie which posesseth the soule and swaies in it all soveraigntie ... it is impossible it should be double. If two at one instant should ... crave contrary offices of you, what order would you follow? ... A singular and principall friendship dissolveth all other duties and freeth all other obligations' (Sovereign Amity, p. 18).

(29) This is even apparent in King John's early reply to the French King's threat of war: 'Here have we war for war and blood for blood, / Controlment for controlment' (I.ii.1920).

(30) The Bastard describes the citizens of Angier 'as in a theatre, whence they gape and point / At your industrious scenes and acts of death' (II.i.382-3). See, Vaughan, 'King John, p. 384.

(31) Chernaik, Cambridge Introduction, p. 73.

(32) MacFaul, Male Friendship, p. 64; see also Stretter, 'Cicero on Stage', 346.

(33) Hutson, Usurer's Daughter, p. 71.

(34) Anon., The Troublesome Raigne of King John in Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, vol. 4, ed. G. Bullough (London, 1962), p. 99.

(35) Vaughan, 'Between Tetralogies', 412, 416.

(36) M. de Montaigne, 'On Friendship', in Other Selves: Philosophers on Friendship, ed. M. Pakaluk (Indianapolis, IN., 1991), p. 192.

(37) See G. Bloom, 'Words Made ofBreath: Gender and Vocal Agency in KingJohn, Shakespeare Studies, 33 (2005), 125-7.

(38) See Chaplin, 'One Flesh, One Heart, One Soul', p. 280; Vaughan, KingJohn', p. 384.

(39) Bray, The Friend, pp. 120-2.

(40) Ibid., p. 126.

(41) Ibid., p. 202.

(42) See P. Saccio, Shakespeare's English Kings: History, Chronicle and Drama (Oxford, 2000), pp. 190-3; Anon, Troublesome Raigne, pp. 96-7.

(43) The dissolution of amity places Blanche in a position very similar to that of the citizens ofAngiers: she cannot choose between what appear to be equivalent claims on her loyalty: 'I am with both, each army hath a hand, / And in their rage, I having hold of both, / They whirl asunder and dismember me.' (III.i.261-3).

(44) V. M. Vaughan, KingJohn: A Study in Subversion and Containment', in D. T. CurrenAquino (ed.), KingJohn: New Perspectives, p. 62.

(45) See Bray, The Friend, p. 41; D. Evett, '"We owe thee much": Service in King John, Shakespearean International Yearbook, 5 (2005), 44-65.

(46) Aristotle, 'Nicomachean Ethics', in Other Selves: Philosophers on Friendship, ed. M. Pakaluk (Indianapolis, IN., 1991), p. 30.

(47) See Stretter, 'Cicero on Stage', p. 358; Shannon, Sovereign Amity, pp. 60-1; M. D. Schachter, Voluntary Servitude and Erotics of Friendship: From Classical Antiquity to Early Modern France (Aldershot, 2008), pp. 30-1; F. Rigolot, 'Friendship and Voluntary Servitude: Plato, Ficino, and Montaigne', Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 47:4 (2005), 334-5.

(48) Traister, 'The King's One Body', pp. 94-6.

(49) Cicero, 'De Amicitia', p. 91; See also D. Womersley, 'The Politics of Shakespeare's King John', Review of English Studies 40 (1989), 503-5.

(50) J. Weil, Service and Dependency in Shakespeare's Plays (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 50-104. As Lorna Hutson notes, in the early modern period, friendship transformed from 'a code of "faithfulness" to 'that of an instrumental and affective relationship which might be generated, even between strangers, through emotionally persuasive communication, or the exchange of persuasive texts' (Usurer'sDaughter, pp. 2-3).

(51) F. Bacon, 'Of Friendship', in Other Selves: Philosophers on Friendship, ed. M. Pakaluk (Indianapolis, IN., 1991), p. 203.

(52) Ibid., pp. 205-6.

(53) Montaigne, 'On Friendship', p. 188.

(54) Ibid., p. 194.

(55) B. Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, trans. G. Bull (Harmondsworth, 1976), p. 137.

(56) Anon., Troublesome Raigne, p. 102, (ix.1120-1); see Grove, 'Memory', p. 281.

(57) Traister, 'The King's One Body', p. 94.

(58) See MacFaul, Male Friendship, pp. 85-7, 100-4.

(59) R. A. Bach, 'Manliness before Individualism: Masculinity, Effeminacy and Homoerotics', in R. Dutton and J. E. Howard (eds), A Companion to Shakespeare's Works: Histories, p. 224.

(60) Anon., Troublesome Raigne, p. 111, (xii. 1433-45); See G. Hamel, King John and The Troublesome Raigne', in D. T. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives, p. 46; S. Burckhardt, Shakespearean Meanings (Princeton, NJ., 1968), p. 120.

(61) See K. Johnson, '"Is it God or the Sovereign's Exception': Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer and Shakespeare's King John', Religion and Literature, 38:3 (2006), 96; Evett, 'We owe thee much', p. 54.

(62) Hubert is very willing to follow John's other commands; for example, he places the prophet Peter of Pomfret in prison with the expectation he will be hanged at noon (IV. ii.158-60).

(63) Evett, 'We owe thee much', 46-7. See also Evett's discussion of the fact that in the Folio the Citizen of Angiers is also called Hubert, which has led some critics to consider that they are one and the same character.

(64) Traister, 'The King's One Body', pp. 94-5.

(65) See M. Manheim, 'The Four Voices of the Bastard', in D. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives (Newark, NJ., 1989), p. 127; L. S. Champion, 'The "Un-end" of King John: Shakespeare's Demystification of Closure', in D. Curren-Aquino (ed.), King John: New Perspectives, pp. 178-9; see A. R. Braunmuller, King John and Historiography', ELH, 55:2 (1988), 313; R. Weimann, 'Mingling Vice and "Worthiness" in King John, Shakespeare Studies, 27 (1999), 128-9; Womersley, 'The Politics', 503-5; C. Slights, 'When is a Bastard Not a Bastard? Character and Conscience in King John, in P. Yachnin and J. Slights (eds), Shakespeare and Character (Basingstoke, 2008), pp. 214-31.

(66) Gieskes, 'He Is But a Bastard to the Time', p. 790.

(67) Manheim, 'The Four Voices', p. 130.

(68) Curren-Aquino, 'Introduction', p. 20.

(69) See R. C. Jones, 'Truth in King John', Studies in English Literature 1500-1900,25:2 (1985), 400; Gieskes, 'He Is But a Bastard to the Time', 785, 787. The Bastard is mentioned by Holinshed, but does not appear in any other historical sources; this means that Shakespeare invented him, or at least reinvented him from his literary source The Troublesome Raigne. See Braunmuller, King John, p. 313; Jones, 'Truth', 399; Gieskes, 'He is But a Bastard to the Time', 792.

(70) Slights, 'When is a Bastard', 228-9.

(71) Traister, 'The King's One Body', p. 91.

(72) For a discussion of the Bastard's masculinity, see McAdam, 'Masculine Agency'; Braunmuller, KingJohn, 41-3.

(73) See Gieskes, 'He is But a Bastard to the Time', 779, 785-7.

(74) Groves notes that as the play progresses the Bastard becomes its central focus and some of his lines are spoken by John in The Troublesome Raigne, see 'Memory', 285-7.

(75) P. Linebaugh, The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All (Berkeley, CA., 2009), pp. 28-9.

(76) See Vaughan, King John: A Study', pp. 65-6.

(77) See Chernaik, Cambridge Introduction, p. 71; Womersley, 'The Politics', 500-2.

Address for Correspondence Paraic Finnerty, School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth P01 3AS. Email:

Paraic Finnerty University of Portsmouth
COPYRIGHT 2011 Sage Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Finnerty, Paraic
Publication:Literature & History
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 22, 2011
Previous Article:'Especyall Swetnes': an Erasmian footnote to the Civil Partnership Act.
Next Article:'Receyving of Freendshipe': Senecas de benificiis and early modern amicable relations.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |