Shakespeare’s Royal Education

Hosted by Dennis Leap

Shakespeare's Royal Education is built around the plays of William Shakespeare. Host Dennis Leap will focus on the plays that deal most with leadership and nation building.

#26: Arthur Escapes Assasination Then Dies by Accident

Aired Wednesday, April 3, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CDT   ·   57 minutes

Host Dennis Leap reviews the startling conversation between Pandulph and Lewis from Act III, Scene 4. Pandulph encourages Lewis to seize the throne from King John, sure that King John has already executed Arthur. However, Arthur talked Hubert out of executing him. Escaping execution, he then falls to his death from a high wall of a building in Angiers.

#25: John Wins the War Against Pandulph and France

Aired Wednesday, March 20, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CDT   ·   58 minutes

Host Dennis Leap continues his discussion of Act III, one of the longest acts of the play. Scene 4 opens with King Philip, his son Lewis, Pandulph and his assistants. Philip laments the loss of his entire fleet of warships, which was destroyed by a violent storm at sea. Shakespeare likely borrowed the history of the loss of the Spanish Armada in 1565 to show that God was still protecting King John and England from enemies. Pandulph attempts to encourage Philip, but Philip rebuffs him. Lewis tries to solace his father. Constance, Arthur’s mother, scolds Philip for obeying Pandulph and breaking his peace pact with John. Constance also scolds Pandulph over the capture of Arthur.

#24: Pandulph Incites War Between France and Britain

Aired Wednesday, February 28, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   59 minutes

Host Dennis Leap continues discussing Act III, Scene 4. Act 3 is Shakespeare’s history lesson of how the Roman Catholic Church wanted to control the governments of France and England. King John and Sir Richard resist papal influence, but Phillip caves in. Through King John, Shakespeare reveals that the Roman Catholic Church was actually begun by Simon Magus, exposing the church’s flawed doctrine of simony (the teaching that people could buy pardon of sin by paying money to the church). Pandulph convinced Phillip to fight King John to prevent his own excommunication.

#23: Kings John and Phillip Resist the Papal Legate

Aired Wednesday, February 21, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   59 minutes

Host Dennis Leap continues discussing Act 3: Scene I of William Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John. King Phillip nervously announces the arrival of Pandulph, Pope Innocent’s messenger. King John has ignored the pope’s request to have Stephen Langton hold the office of archbishop of Canterbury. His reason: God has made John king of England and that means John reports to God not the pope. Pandulph tells Phillip he must break his truce with John. But Constance and Eleanor warn Phillip to stand with John. Phillip hesitates to obey Pandulph.

#22: Kings John and Philip Arrange a Marriage

Aired Wednesday, February 7, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   59 minutes

Host Dennis Leap continues his discussion of Act II: Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s challenging play The Life and Death of King John. The idea for Lady Blanche to marry the Dauphin was first suggested by Hubert the Angiers citizen standing on the city wall. Sir Richard, the illegitimate son of Richard the Lionheart, is the only one who sees the advantage for France not for England’s King John.

#21: Angiers Citizens Request King John and Phillip to Fight for the Crown of Angiers

Aired Wednesday, January 24, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   58 minutes

Host Dennis Leap continues discussion of Act II, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John. King John and Phillip rush to gain the best fighting ground. The war advances and finishes. The English and French heralds return to the gates of Angiers and each declare their king as the victor.

#20: King John Confronts King Phillip at Angiers

Aired Wednesday, January 10, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   58 minutes

Host Dennis Leap begins the discussion of Act 2: Scene I of William Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John. In this scene, King Phillip, Arthur, the Duke of Austria and Arthur’s mother, Constance, face the gates of John’s ancestral home with the plan to take the city and give it to Arthur, who is John’s nephew. John and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, arrive at Angiers gates. John threatens Phillip with war. Phillip suggests that the people of Angiers decide who is the rightful king. The people request a battle between the two kings and their armies to decide the matter.

#18: The Life and Death of King John

Aired Wednesday, December 13, 2023   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   56 minutes

Host Dennis Leap begins the discussion of one of William Shakespeare’s most unusual plays about one of England’s most hated kings—John. King John was the son of the famous Plantagenets Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. John’s older brother was Richard the Lionheart. John’s terrible leadership led to the creation of one of the most important foundational documents for a free and lawful society: the Magna Carta. Shakespeare’s poetry gives a fascinating view of the history of this brutish monarch and his subjects. After an hour or two of experiencing England under King John, the Tudor dynasty could take on a fresh appeal.

#17: The Weight of This Sad Time

Aired Wednesday, November 22, 2023   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   59 minutes

Host Dennis Leap finishes the discussion of Shakespeare’s play King Lear, focusing on Act 5. The civil war between Cordelia’s French forces and her evil sisters, Regan and Goneril, explodes. Cordelia’s army loses the war and Edmund, Gloucester’s evil son, puts Lear and Cordelia in prison to be executed. Albany declares Edmund a traitor and appoints Edgar as ruler. Edgar accepts the job of healing the gored state of England, saying, “The weight of this sad time we must obey.”

#16: Edgar and Cordelia Work to Save Their fathers, Part 3

Aired Wednesday, November 8, 2023   ·   09:00 AM CST   ·   58 minutes

Host Dennis Leap takes you back to Act IV, Scene 6 to discuss the important end of this scene. After Edgar convinces his father, Gloucester, that he fell down the precipitous White Cliffs of Dover, King Lear unexpectedly appears, completely insane. He is bedecked and crowned with weeds from the fields. In this scene, the two fathers face their failure in raising their children. Lear regrets the way his two eldest daughters have treated him. Gloucester regrets that he did not see the villainy in his illegitimate son, Edmund. This scene truly represents Shakespeare’s writing genius.