Study Guide

King John Act 5, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 2

Read the full text of King John Act 5 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.


  • In St. Edmundsbury, England, Louis the Dauphin and his posse talk turkey.
  • Louis is holding a piece of paper, a contract that has been signed by the French and English allies. The contract pledges their loyalty to each other, and their promise to fight against King John.
  • Even though he has sworn loyalty to Louis and his cause, Salisbury isn't happy about it.
  • Salisbury cries and gives a long speech about how bad he feels for being a traitor to King John.
  • Louis tells him that it's okay; he totally respects Salisbury's feelings.
  • Then there's a tender moment in which the Dauphin 1) wipes a "manly" tear from Salisbury's eye, 2) tells Salisbury how brave he is, and then 3) gently reminds Salisbury that crying is for babies.
  • After the male bonding is over, Louis also promises that they will be able to get lots of plunder out of all of this.
  • Just then, in walks Pandolf.
  • Louis thinks this is a good sign: now he and his allies can get the Pope's blessing for their military expedition.
  • But it turns out that Pandolf has come to put an end to the party. He tells everyone that King John is buddies with the Pope again, so they'd better call off their expedition.
  • Louis is having none of it. He says that events have taken on their own momentum; Pandolf doesn't have the power to stop them now. Anyhow, he says, he paid for this military expedition himself, not the Pope. So the Church should just butt out.
  • At this moment, the Bastard shows up. He asks Pandolf how things are going with his whole stopping-the-invasion-in-its-tracks thing. Pandolf says he's had no luck.
  • The Bastard takes this as his cue: he makes a long speech threatening various horrible things in case the French invaders and English rebels don't turn back.
  • Louis doesn't think much of this speech.
  • Pandolf and the Bastard each try to make a last statement, but Louis tells them both that he won't listen. He tells his drummers to start beating a military march.
  • The Bastard makes some more threats; then everybody heads off to their own people.