Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Editor: David Bevington
Peer Reviewed

The Tale of Gamelyn


[Subsequently, Gamelyn forces his way into John's household and feasts everyone for seven days and nights on his brother's stores. Beguiled by John into allowing himself to be bound hand and foot, Gamelyn frees himself with the aid of the servant Adam Spencer and lays about him among the priors, abbots, monks and other dignitaries who support John, causing many fatalities. Gamelyn and Adam evade the sheriff and a posse sent to arrest them by escaping into the woods. There they encounter a band of young outlaws, are introduced to the outlaw king, and are given food and drink in their necessity. Gamelyn is quickly appointed king of the outlaws, with the full consent of the previous master outlaw. When Gamelyn's false brother, now sheriff, formally declares Gamelyn to be an outlaw, Gamelyn's response is to proceed at once to a session of the shire court in the moot or assembly hall, where he defies his brother and is cast into prison. Another brother, Sir Ote, comoes to the rescue. When the sheriff refuses to heed Sir Ote's demand that Gamelyn be set free, Sir Ote offers himself as surety for Gamelyn's release until the next sitting of the court. Gamelyn, now released, repairs to the forest and to his band of outlaw followers. With their support he returns to the shire court in time to rescue Sir Ote from hanging. Gamelyn overthrows the presiding justice, take his place in the seat of justice, and presides over a hearing in which the justice and the sheriff are condemned and hanged for having attempted to execute Sir Ote. The twelve members of the jury are also hanged. Ultimately Gamelyn and Ote are reconciled to the king of the country. Ote is named justice, and Gamelyn chief justice of the king's forest. Gamelyn wins back all his lands, is named Ote's heir, and marries a wife "good and faire" with whom he lives in marital bliss until the day of his death.]