He is King John's principal political foe in the first half of the play. As Arthur and Constance's chief ally, Philip is not always dependable. His decisions to abandon Arthur's claim by making peace with John, and then to revoke the treaty at Pandulph's command, raise several questions. Is personal gain his principal motive? Is he a rationalizer or a hypocrite? Does he finally agree with the cardinal that his first duty is to the Church—or is he terrified by the prospect of eternal damnation? In an amoral world dominated by the struggle for political power, King Philip frequently...
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