Many elements of the struggle for political power in thirteenth-century England are universal. They can be found in the history of every country in the world. Shifting alliances within factions and political backstabbing—as when Philip and Lewis desert Arthur's cause in exchange for Blanch's dowry, or when the English nobles desert John and then rush back to him upon learning that Lewis means to kill them—are not uncommon in many nations, even today. The cynicism about national leaders expressed by the Bastard in his second major soliloquy (II.i.561-98) resembles the alienation from...
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