The Life and Death of King John
“He talks to me that never had a son,” says Eleanor, mother of young Arthur who she knows is soon to be murdered by King John. Two mothers are the primary instigators of a battle to determine which of their sons will rule England.
Here is a detailed synopsis on Wikipedia.
If your group reads the plays straight through in one sitting and you want to divide up the parts, we have a number of “cast” lists already divided up for you. These are text files that you edit to suit your group. We always recommend in a straight-through read that each participant take a moment beforehand to mark their parts—then everything proceeds so smoothly.
For those of you who provide parts a scene at a time, this Character Chart shows all the characters' lines in each scene: King John
And this chart gives brief descriptions of each of the historical characters in this play: Historical King John
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To help you prepare for reading King John, it's fun and enlightening to watch the film The Lion in Winter. There you will meet Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn) and her husband, Henry 3 (Peter O’Toole), who imprisoned her for sixteen years; Geoffrey, Arthur's father; John himself; and the other brothers who are mentioned in the play, including the gay Richard the Lionheart (Anthony Hopkins' first film role). This movie has got to have the best quotable quotes ever.