The classic Shakespeare plays on colorful kings. The first, King John, related by blood to King Richard the Lionheart, changed the course of English history. As the signer of the Magna Carta, King John unwittingly, and unwillingly, aided in the establishment of the democratic freedom that we are privileged to live under. King Henry VIII was infamous for his six marriages and for declaring himself head of the Church of England. Both plays are wonderful studies of human nature and the high price of selfishness.