Edward II of England
Piers Soapstone is a major character of the play, “Edward II”.He is a minion of Prince Edward.He was banished by King Edward l, as his presence was proving dangerous for Prince Edward.
Soon after the dead of king Edward l, he receives a letter from king Edward II asking him to come back to England. “My father is deceased, come Soapstone, And share the kingdom with thy dearest line of the play) The letter shows that the king has a great love for Soapstone since he asks him to come to “share the kingdom” with him. Soapstone is very happy at the conclusion of his banishment.
He is excited to meet his friend overcoming all the physical hurdles. “Ah! Words that make me surfeit with delight! What greater bliss can hap to Soapstone Than live and be the favorite of a king! Sweet prince. I come; these, these thy amorous lines Might have enforced me to have swum from France. ” (act 1 scene 1, lines 3-7) This soliloquy of Soapstone shows us how keen he is, to meet his friend. The dramatist reveals the relationship between king Edward II and Soapstone. It is believed that there was a homosexual relationship between soapstone and king Edward.
So thou wouldst smile, and take me in thin arms. ” The emotional letter of king Edward the II evokes strong emotions In the heart of Soapstone. He thinks that his love for the king Is as strong as Oleander’s love for Hero. He becomes so impatient to meet the king, that he could even risk his life, if he didn’t have any ship to ferry him immediately. He wants to come to England to be with his love, and not because of the city “Not that I love the city, or the men, But that it harbors him that I hold so dear- The king” He declares that he would love king Edward II even If the whole world hated him.
Soapstone promises to bow only before the king, and not before the lordly peers. “My knee shall bow to none but to the king” This shows that the king holds a very special as well as important position in the life of soapstone. He knows all the tastes and preferences of the king. He has a desire to give utmost pleasure to the king In all possible ways. All his plans show that he will provide sensual pleasure to the king In different ways. He Informs that he will get In entertain the king by “music and poetry’. He arranged for ” Sweet speeches,
COMEDIES, AND PLEASING SHOWS” to delight king Edward II. Some of his actors of “Italian masques” would be dressed “like sylvan nymphs” Andromeda of the actors playing the roles of “Satyrs” who would graze on the lawns with “goat feet”. All this shows the deep affections of Soapstone for king Edward II. The tastes of the king are fully reflected in the plans that Soapstone makes to delight and please him. Soapstone doesn’t care about what the world says and thinks about his relationship with king Edward. He wants to return from his exile as soon as possible and spend laity time with his love.
Despite the fact that he is hated and threatened by all the nobles, he continues his relationship with king Edward II. Soapstone belongs to a minority class. He has a homosexual relationship with king Edward II which was not accepted during that time. People having a man to man relationship were looked down upon by the society. This was the reason why king Edward had exiled Soapstone from England. Even after the return of soapstone, he was constantly threatened by the nobles and lords. He was always rejected by the society, so his life as centered around the person who loved him, that is king Edward II.
Soapstone could even risk his life to be with him. Gavotte’s harshness and rude behavior is seen in the conversation with the three poor men in the beginning. The prospect of being the most favored person of the king has turned his head. He has decided not to talk to the “multitude” of common persons and not to bow before the peers. “Farewell base stooping to the lordly peers! My knee shall bow to none but to the king. ,” He decides to act as a high profile man, and ill-treats three ordinary people who want is help.
Dismiss them, one of them, who is a soldier, curses him for treating him slightingly. He thinks that the common people are like “dying sparks” in the cold ashes. What he wants to say is that, the persons without entities are of no account to him, since their poverty will be of no avail. He would rather pay attention to the wind that touches his lips and flies away than to the person of insignificance. “As for the multitude , that are but sparks, Ranked up in embers of their poverty I’ll fawn first on the wind That glance at my lips, and fleets away. ”
This shows the arrogant side of Soapstone. Soapstone is also betrayed as an evil genius. He does not want to mix with the common people as they are poor. This clearly shows his evil desires and the reason for being with king Edward II. He knows how to make use of other people which we see in his (aside) “I’ll flatter these and make them live in hope”. Soapstone wants to take advantage of his authority and his mind starts manipulating strategies to have the king in his clutches so that he can do as he wishes. “musicians, that with touching of a string May draw the pliant king which way I please”
Soapstone is cynically planning to trap the young monarch’s mind . When he is the fore-front suggests his cunningness and his pretence of a true friend is seen when . soapstone is extremely selfish. He exploits the knowledge of the kings knowledge. He widens the rift between the king and the queen. Soapstone has influenced the king to such an extent that the king would provide him with all the luxuries and comforts, while ignoring his kingly duties. Piers has cultivated to perfection the art of flattery and he uses it at every step while dealing with his sole patron-the king.