Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Does the common conception of Richard as 'good' and John as 'bad' hold up to reality?

King Richard is known as the "Lionheart." He is the one who dies at war as a courageous hero. His brother King John, who came into rule after Richard's death, was a cowardly genius, weakened by the popularity of his siblings. King John seems to have been a failure; however, historians have discovered that if Richard had been in rule for five more years after his death, he too would have been at the brink of failure. Therefore, following Richard's death, John had to try to pick up the pieces that his superstar brother had left for him. This tends to go unseen, because Richard was seen as a Warrior King who could let down his guard at any one time to put his trust into his enemies. Honorably, Richard would go for the slim odds when it came to having faith in other. On the contrary, John's greatest tragic flaw was his inability to share his power and trust others. Through this he lost friends and many opportunities. John may have been overwhelmed by his failure, but in truth he was no different than his father and brother. His father was untrustworthy and Richard's faith in taking risks was in many ways ineffective. The rivalry between the brothers gave John the short end of the stick despite his intelligence and strategic ability. Therefore, in reality, John was given an unfair testament of his character (BBC).

Source:
"BBC - History - British History in Depth: King John and Richard I: Brothers and Rivals."BBC - Homepage. Web. 07 Sept. 2010. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/john_01.shtml>.
Image of King John from: http://t1.gstatic.com/images

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