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DURATION OF ACTION
The time of the play occupies seven days, with intervals comprising in all not more than three or four months. The historical time covers the whole of King John's reign.
Philip, king of France
Queen ELINOR, mother to King John
Lords, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers,
Messengers, and other Attendants
SCENE: Partly in England, and partly in France
By J. ELLIS BURDICK
When Richard Caur-de-Lion died, the crown of England should have come to his son, Prince Arthur, but his brother John usurped it. Philip of France supports the claims of Arthur and threatens to make war on England. In return John plans an invasion of France and appoints a natural son of Richard as one of the generals under the name and title of Sir Richard Plantagenet.
An indecisive battle is fought between the English and French before Angiers in France and afterward a treaty of peace is concluded between the two kings. Blanche, niece to King John, is married to Lewis, Dauphin of France, and for her dowry the English king relinquishes certain English provinces.
John refuses to obey a mandate of the Pope and is excommunicated. The papal legate demands that Philip refuse to abide by the terms of the treaty "on peril of a curse.” John and Philip again take up arms and the French are defeated in battle. The prince Arthur is taken prisoner and John gives instructions for his murder.
Hubert, an English courtier, is commissioned by John to burn out Arthur's eyes; but the boy's entreaties weaken