Shakespeare’s Royal Education

Shakespeare’s Royal Education

Shakespeare's Royal Education is built around the plays of William Shakespeare. Host Dennis Leap will focus on the plays that deal most with leadership and nation building.

Host Dennis Leap continues discussing Act III, Scene 4. Act 3 is Shakespeare’s history lesson of how the Roman Catholic Church wanted to control the governments of France and England. King John and Sir Richard resist papal influence, but Phillip caves in. Through King John, Shakespeare reveals that the Roman Catholic Church was actually begun by Simon Magus, exposing the church’s flawed doctrine of simony (the teaching that people could buy pardon of sin by paying money to the church). Pandulph convinced Phillip to fight King John to prevent his own excommunication.

Host Dennis Leap continues discussing Act 3: Scene I of William Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John. King Phillip nervously announces the arrival of Pandulph, Pope Innocent’s messenger. King John has ignored the pope’s request to have Stephen Langton hold the office of archbishop of Canterbury. His reason: God has made John king of England and that means John reports to God not the pope. Pandulph tells Phillip he must break his truce with John. But Constance and Eleanor warn Phillip to stand with John. Phillip hesitates to obey Pandulph.

Host Dennis Leap continues his discussion of Act II: Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s challenging play The Life and Death of King John. The idea for Lady Blanche to marry the Dauphin was first suggested by Hubert the Angiers citizen standing on the city wall. Sir Richard, the illegitimate son of Richard the Lionheart, is the only one who sees the advantage for France not for England’s King John.

Host Dennis Leap continues discussion of Act II, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John. King John and Phillip rush to gain the best fighting ground. The war advances and finishes. The English and French heralds return to the gates of Angiers and each declare their king as the victor.

Host Dennis Leap begins the discussion of Act 2: Scene I of William Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John. In this scene, King Phillip, Arthur, the Duke of Austria and Arthur’s mother, Constance, face the gates of John’s ancestral home with the plan to take the city and give it to Arthur, who is John’s nephew. John and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, arrive at Angiers gates. John threatens Phillip with war. Phillip suggests that the people of Angiers decide who is the rightful king. The people request a battle between the two kings and their armies to decide the matter.

Host Dennis Leap begins the discussion of one of William Shakespeare’s most unusual plays about one of England’s most hated kings—John. King John was the son of the famous Plantagenets Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. John’s older brother was Richard the Lionheart. John’s terrible leadership led to the creation of one of the most important foundational documents for a free and lawful society: the Magna Carta. Shakespeare’s poetry gives a fascinating view of the history of this brutish monarch and his subjects. After an hour or two of experiencing England under King John, the Tudor dynasty could take on a fresh appeal.

Host Dennis Leap finishes the discussion of Shakespeare’s play King Lear, focusing on Act 5. The civil war between Cordelia’s French forces and her evil sisters, Regan and Goneril, explodes. Cordelia’s army loses the war and Edmund, Gloucester’s evil son, puts Lear and Cordelia in prison to be executed. Albany declares Edmund a traitor and appoints Edgar as ruler. Edgar accepts the job of healing the gored state of England, saying, “The weight of this sad time we must obey.”

Host Dennis Leap takes you back to Act IV, Scene 6 to discuss the important end of this scene. After Edgar convinces his father, Gloucester, that he fell down the precipitous White Cliffs of Dover, King Lear unexpectedly appears, completely insane. He is bedecked and crowned with weeds from the fields. In this scene, the two fathers face their failure in raising their children. Lear regrets the way his two eldest daughters have treated him. Gloucester regrets that he did not see the villainy in his illegitimate son, Edmund. This scene truly represents Shakespeare’s writing genius.

Host Dennis Leap discusses Lear’s madcap trial of his evil daughters Goneril and Regan in Act III, Scene 6. The Fool and Kent are legal aides, and Edgar (still pretending to be Poor Tom) is the judge. During the trial against Goneril (who is not there), Lear’s descent into madness brings Edgar to tears and he fears being exposed. Back at his estate,Cornwall, Regan and Goneril put out Gloucester’s eyes and thrust him into the storm. Edgar finds his father blind and helpless and leads him to Dover where Gloucester wants to die. Cordelia also arrives in Dover with an army, a doctor and nurses to help her father Lear.

Host Dennis Leap discusses Act 3, Scene IV of King Lear. Loyal Kent and the Fool strive to protect Lear from the storm and descending further into madness. They lead Lear into a hovel where Edgar is still pretending to be Poor Tom. Gloucester finds them in the hovel, warns them that Lear’s daughters plan to kill Lear, and moves Lear, Kent, the Fool and Edgar (still playing poor Tom) into a dry place. Gloucester returns to his estate to get provisions for the king but does not return. Concerned, Edgar seeks out his father and discovers that Lear’s daughters have put out his eyes. Edgar remains disguised and helps his weakened father.