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* PopculturalOsmosis: The phrase "gild the lily" -- a misquote of a line from this play -- is far, far, ''far'' more popular than the play itself, which today is one of Shakespeare's most obscure.

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* PopculturalOsmosis: The phrase "gild the lily" -- a misquote of a line line[[note]]"To gild refinéd gold, to paint the lily"[[/note]] from this play -- is far, far, ''far'' more popular than the play itself, which today is one of Shakespeare's most obscure.

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* CorruptChurch: Pandolph, the Pope's legate, is a slimy politician who attempts unscrupulously to manipulate the monarchs to the advantage of Rome.


* CompositeCharacter: Richard the Lionheart's old enemy Leopold of Austria (who in real life captured and imprisoned him) is conflated by Shakespeare with the Viscount of Limoges (outside one of whose castles Richard was actually killed), despite that fact that Limoges in France is nearly a thousand miles away from the real Leopold's court in Vienna.



* OffWithHisHead: Austria is beheaded by The Bastard for his part in killing King Richard I, The Bastard's father.

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* OffWithHisHead: Austria is beheaded by The the Bastard for his part in killing King Richard I, The Bastard's father.


* HistoricalDowngrade: William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, renowned then and now as possibly the greatest Knight who ever lived, is here a bit character indistinguishable from most of the other nobles in the play. Neither his [[MyMasterRightOrWrong steadfast loyalty to John]] or his skill at arms are demonstrated at all in this play, nor is his pivotal role in the events depicted. Of course, at the time Marshal was a rather obscure figure, since the main chronicle detailing his life wasn't widely known until the 19th century.

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* HistoricalDowngrade: William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, renowned then in his life and now as possibly the greatest Knight who ever lived, is here a bit character indistinguishable from most of the other nobles in the play. Neither his [[MyMasterRightOrWrong steadfast loyalty to John]] or his skill at arms are demonstrated at all in this play, nor is his pivotal role in the events depicted. Of course, at the time Marshal was a rather obscure figure, since the main chronicle detailing his life wasn't widely known until the 19th century.

Added DiffLines:

* HistoricalDowngrade: William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, renowned then and now as possibly the greatest Knight who ever lived, is here a bit character indistinguishable from most of the other nobles in the play. Neither his [[MyMasterRightOrWrong steadfast loyalty to John]] or his skill at arms are demonstrated at all in this play, nor is his pivotal role in the events depicted. Of course, at the time Marshal was a rather obscure figure, since the main chronicle detailing his life wasn't widely known until the 19th century.


Though today one of Shakespeare's more obscure plays, and generally considered one of his lesser works by those who ''do'' know of it, ''King John'' was one of his most popular plays in the nineteenth century. It has been staged on Broadway four times - but not once in the last century.

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Though today one of Shakespeare's more obscure plays, and generally considered one of his lesser works by those who ''do'' know of it, ''King John'' was one of his most popular plays in the nineteenth century. It has been staged on Broadway four times - -- but not once in the last century.



* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Constance]] is implied to have committed suicide offstage. Whether or not [[spoiler:Arthur's]] death was also deliberate on his part is left ambiguous.

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* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Constance]] Constance is implied to have committed suicide offstage. Whether or not [[spoiler:Arthur's]] Arthur's death was also deliberate on his part is left ambiguous.



* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler: Arthur's]] death definitely qualifies.

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* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler: Arthur's]] Arthur's death definitely qualifies.



* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: Subverted, [[spoiler: In his somewhat suicidal attempt to escape from the castle, Arthur is killed when he falls from the wall.]]
* OffWithHisHead: [[spoiler: Austria is beheaded by The Bastard for his part in killing King Richard I, The Bastard's father.]]

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* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: Subverted, [[spoiler: In in his somewhat suicidal attempt to escape from the castle, Arthur is killed when he falls from the wall.]]
wall.
* OffWithHisHead: [[spoiler: Austria is beheaded by The Bastard for his part in killing King Richard I, The Bastard's father.]]


* HaveAGayOldTime: A character is called a cracker, centuries before it became a racial epithet.

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* HaveAGayOldTime: A character is called a cracker, centuries before it became a racial epithet. (Though in fact, it's probably the exact same meaning, coming from the common root in Northern England and Scotland and meaning boastful bragging and joshing. It survives in Ireland with the - actually quite recent - Hibernicized spelling "craic", and travelled to America with the "Scots-Irish" settlers.)

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Though today one of Shakespeare's more obscure plays, and generally considered one of his lesser works by those who ''do'' know of it, ''King John'' was one of his most popular plays in the nineteenth century. It has been staged on Broadway four times - but not once in the last century.

It is one of Shakespeare's two plays to be written entirely in blank verse; the other is ''Theatre/RichardII''.


* TheOphelia: Subverted. Similar to Ophelia (but preceding her, as ''{{Theater/Hamlet}}'' wouldn't be written yet for another year or two), Constance suffers the loss of her family, in this case, her little son, Arthur, and everyone around her says she is mad. But Constance herself sharply rebukes that she is still completely sane, that if she was mad, she wouldn't feel each grief as keenly as she does.

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* TheOphelia: Subverted. Similar to Ophelia (but preceding her, as ''{{Theater/Hamlet}}'' ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' wouldn't be written yet for another year or two), Constance suffers the loss of her family, in this case, her little son, Arthur, and everyone around her says she is mad. But Constance herself sharply rebukes that she is still completely sane, that if she was mad, she wouldn't feel each grief as keenly as she does.


* TwiceToldTale: TropeNamer:
-->''Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale\\
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.''
** In another way, ''The Life and Death of King John'' tracks very closely to a play that is believed to have been published slightly earlier: ''The Troublesome Reign of King John''. Shakespeare appears to have set out to write a much-improved version of that play, in which he succeeded by making John an [[AntiHero anti-hero]], removing the comfortable moral framework of the precursor, and removing a romantic subplot.

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* TwiceToldTale: TropeNamer:
-->''Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale\\
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.''
** In another way,
''The Life and Death of King John'' tracks very closely to a play that is believed to have been published slightly earlier: ''The Troublesome Reign of King John''. Shakespeare appears to have set out to write a much-improved version of that play, in which he succeeded by making John an [[AntiHero anti-hero]], removing the comfortable moral framework of the precursor, and removing a romantic subplot.

Added DiffLines:

* PopculturalOsmosis: The phrase "gild the lily" -- a misquote of a line from this play -- is far, far, ''far'' more popular than the play itself, which today is one of Shakespeare's most obscure.


A play by Creator/WilliamShakespeare, thought to have been created somewhere between 1596 and 1598. It follows the life of King John, in his war against his rival, Phillip II of France, to his eventual death at the hands of a treacherous monk.

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A play by Creator/WilliamShakespeare, thought to have been created somewhere between 1596 and 1598. It follows the life of King John, UsefulNotes/KingJohnOfEngland, in his war against his rival, Phillip II of France, to his eventual death at the hands of a treacherous monk.



* DecoyProtagonist: The real hero is RichardTheLionheart's bastard Falconbridge.

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* DecoyProtagonist: The real hero is RichardTheLionheart's UsefulNotes/RichardTheLionheart's bastard Falconbridge.


* TheOphelia: Subverted. Similar to Ophelia (but preceding her, as ''{{Theater/Hamlet}}'' wouldn't be written yet for another year or two), Constance suffers the loss of her family, in this case, her little soon, and everyone around her says she is mad. But Constance herself sharply rebukes that she is still completely sane, that if she was mad, she wouldn't feel each grief as keenly as she does.

to:

* TheOphelia: Subverted. Similar to Ophelia (but preceding her, as ''{{Theater/Hamlet}}'' wouldn't be written yet for another year or two), Constance suffers the loss of her family, in this case, her little soon, son, Arthur, and everyone around her says she is mad. But Constance herself sharply rebukes that she is still completely sane, that if she was mad, she wouldn't feel each grief as keenly as she does.

Added DiffLines:

* TheOphelia: Subverted. Similar to Ophelia (but preceding her, as ''{{Theater/Hamlet}}'' wouldn't be written yet for another year or two), Constance suffers the loss of her family, in this case, her little soon, and everyone around her says she is mad. But Constance herself sharply rebukes that she is still completely sane, that if she was mad, she wouldn't feel each grief as keenly as she does.


-->In another way, ''The Life and Death of King John'' tracks very closely to a play that is believed to have been published slightly earlier: ''The Troublesome Reign of King John''. Shakespeare appears to have set out to write a much-improved version of that play, in which he succeeded by making John an [[AntiHero anti-hero]], removing the comfortable moral framework of the precursor, and removing a romantic subplot.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Philip "The Bastard" Faulconbridge is identified as a probable biological heir to King Richerd Lionheart, before he even begins to describe how Richard is probably his father.

to:

-->In **In another way, ''The Life and Death of King John'' tracks very closely to a play that is believed to have been published slightly earlier: ''The Troublesome Reign of King John''. Shakespeare appears to have set out to write a much-improved version of that play, in which he succeeded by making John an [[AntiHero anti-hero]], removing the comfortable moral framework of the precursor, and removing a romantic subplot.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Philip "The Bastard" Faulconbridge is identified as a probable biological heir to King Richerd Richard Lionheart, before he even begins to describe how Richard is probably his father.

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