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.

#31: York Replaces John of Gaunt as King Richard’s Adviser

Aired Wednesday, July 3, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CDT   ·   58 minutes

Host Dennis Leap continues discussing Act II, Scene 1, revealing the importance of John of Gaunt’s younger brother, York. York assumes John of Gaunt’s dominant role in King Richard’s reign. Dennis also introduces a new character: Northumberland.

#30: King Richard’s Attack on Gaunt and Bolingbroke

Aired Wednesday, June 19, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CDT   ·   59 minutes

Host Dennis Leap discusses why King Richard attacks his uncle, John of Gaunt, and his cousin, Bolingbroke. King Richard was responsible for the execution of his uncle, Thomas, duke of Gloucester. John of Gaunt and Bolingbroke knew this, and they also knew Richard paid Thomas Mowbray to do the deed. To protect himself, King Richard set up a sham fight between Bolingbroke and Mowbray. He banished Bolingbroke from England for six years; Mowbray was banished for life. After Bolingbroke left England, King Richard taunts his Uncle John on his deathbed. After John’s death, Richard took over his lands and wealth to support his war with the Irish.

#29: King Richard II Banishes Bolingbroke and Mowbray

Aired Wednesday, May 29, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CDT   ·   59 minutes

Host Dennis Leap continues discussing some historical background history related to King Richard II, Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray. He moves into Act I, Scene 3, which includes the chivalric fight between Bolingbroke and Mowbray.

#28: Richard II Assumes the Throne of England

Aired Wednesday, May 1, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CDT   ·   60 minutes

Host Dennis Leap begins discussing William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Richard II by providing background history of the lineage of eligible sons available to assume the throne of England after King John's death. The lineage began with King John's son Henry III, and included Henry's three sons Edward I, Edward II and Edward III. Richard II assumed the throne from Edward III.

#27: King John Surrenders to the Pope and Then Is Poisoned by a Bishop

Aired Wednesday, April 17, 2024   ·   09:00 AM CDT   ·   58 minutes

Host Dennis Leap finishes discussing Shakespeare's play The Life and Death of King John. King John returns from France to England but he is caught in a war with an invasion from Lewis the Dauphin. Salisbury, Pembroke and Bigot side with the French. During the battle, John grows sick, likely from dysentery, and is poisoned by a Catholic bishop.

#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.