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THE LIFE AND DEATH OF

KING JOHN

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF

KING JOHN

Day 3. III. 4.

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Interval.

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4. IV. 1.-3.

Interval.

6. V. 2.-5.

7. V. 6., 7.

(Daniel Time Analysis,' Trans. N. Sh. Society, p. 261.) Historic Time.-The entire reign of John (A. D. 1199-1216).

5. V. I.

Interval.

Dramatis Persona. This list was first drawn up by Rowe.

INTRODUCTION

Literary

The Life and Death of KING JOHN first appeared Early in the Folio of 1623, where it opens the series of the HistoryHistories. The text is relatively accurate, with the Text. exception of some confusion in the indication of the Acts.

The definite limits of the date of King John are Date. as follows:

(1) The older play upon which Shakespeare founded his History,-The Troublesome Reign of King John, cannot be earlier than c. 1587, for its sounding rhetoric and facile blank verse as well as the explicit language of the preface, quoted below, proclaim it to have been inspired by Marlowe. It was printed in 1591.

(2) Shakespeare's King John is mentioned by Francis Meres in 1598.

But these wide limits admit of being considerably narrowed. Of the ten Histories, six can be dated with some certainty. 2 and 3 Henry VI. and Richard III. are fixed by Greene's diatribe to 1592-3; 1 and 2 Henry IV. and Henry V. by the Essex allusion in Henry V. chorus v. to 1598-9. Far more clearly than Richard II., King John belongs to the interim between the first and second group of Histories. It has palpable links with both. The absence of prose, the rarity of rhyme, the approximation to tragedy, connect it with the

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