The Lion in Winter by James Goldman Essay

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The Lion in Winter by James Goldman

Lion in Winter is the chess game as portrayed in Becket. There are kings and queens, but the most important ones are the pawns. The pawns are what makes this story grow. Everyone in this story is playing their own chess game for their own reasons. The most dangerous ones are the one that have nothing to lose.

Everyone is hungry for power: Henry, Eleanor, Richard, John, Geoffrey, and Phillip. This thirst for power all started when Henry III, the rightful heir, died. In a normal setting, the next in line should receive the kingdom, but this is not a normal family. So, everyone vying for the throne will use manipulation to get what they want. In Lion in Winter, there are many ultimatums,
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"When your opponent uses sincerity, that's when it gets awfully confusing." John, Henry's favorite son, does not even know when he is merely acting. So, when Henry announces that Richard is going to be the new heir, he is playing with John's emotions.

Geoffrey is always looking for a chance to come in. He does not care if he is the last resort, he just wants to be king. Geoffrey drops as John's chancellor because he wants to be on the winning side (at least that's what he says). He is always thinking about himself and ways to get his foot in the door. He even told his mother that he would walk John into the trap that his mother sets. But that would only be true if he could have something to gain. However, people can see right through Geoffrey and they know exactly what he wants and what he will do to get it. Eleanor even says that he will sell everyone out and he admits to it. Eleanor pleases him for the time being because she knows that he is mostly harmless and has no chance of becoming king.

Once again Eleanor uses love on Richard. She talks about how she taught him this and that and she even went as far as mutilating herself to supposedly prove how much she loved him. However, it is revealed in later scenes that she merely wanted the Aquitaine just so she could raise the stakes with Henry.

Phillip wants Geoffrey to be king in the chess scene. Later on, it is revealed that he merely wants to
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