Study Guide

King John Act 5, Scene 7

By William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 7

Read the full text of King John Act 5 Scene 7 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • The scene opens in an orchard at Swinstead Abbey.
  • Prince Henry, Salisbury, and Lord Bigot come onstage first.
  • Prince Henry tells us that his old man isn't doing so well: the poison has gone throughout his whole body, and his brain has been affected.
  • Pembroke says that King John can still talk and suggests bringing him into the orchard. Hey, maybe all the fruit trees will make him feel better?
  • Pembroke tells us that the king has been acting a little loopy. Just moments ago, he was singing.
  • This makes Prince Henry reflect on the nature of sickness in general; according to him, death first attacks the body, then the mind. Right now, we're seeing the last stages of the king's illness.
  • At this point, Lord Bigot and some other attendants come in, carrying King John in a chair.
  • King John complains about the horrible pain he's in; he wants to die as quickly as possible. He complains that nothing can get rid of the burning sensation that is tormenting him.
  • Now the Bastard comes in. The Bastard warns them all that Louis the Dauphin is on his way there. He doesn't know how they will resist him, seeing as most of his men got drowned by the tide on the way there.
  • Just then, King John dies.
  • Salisbury and Prince Henry can't believe that a guy can be a king one moment, and a corpse the next.
  • The Bastard says, "True that. But what I'm most worried about is the army of Louis the Dauphin, which is on its way here to give us all a royal thumping."
  • But then Salisbury says, "Hey, calm down. Don't you know? Cardinal Pandolf is insideā€”he just came to us with a message from Louis, who says he quits. There's no more war." Salisbury explains that Louis is already on his way to the coast to head back to France.
  • Prince Henry starts planning his dad's funeral. He says he going to Worcester, because that's where King John wanted to be buried.
  • The Bastard thinks this is a good idea. He swears his loyalty to Prince Henry; Salisbury does the same. Prince Henry tries to thank them, but he is all choked up with tears.
  • The Bastard ends the play by making a patriotic speech saying that England only came this close to being conquered because the country was divided against itself. So long as England remains unified, he says, no one will be able to conquer it.
  • That's it.
  • What? You're not satisfied? Go to "What's Up With the Ending?" if you want more.