|THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON
"Confess it, My Lord; I rattle you like the glass in a casement when it thunders!"
The history books tell us that Piers Gaveston was many things: arrogant, ambitious, avaricious, flamboyant, extravagant, reckless, brave, and daring, indiscreet, handsome, witty, vivacious, vain, and peacock-proud, a soldier and champion jouster, the son of a condemned witch, who used witchcraft, his own wicked wiles, and forbidden sex to entice and enslave King Edward II, alienate him from his nobles and advisors, and keep him from the bed of his beautiful bride Isabelle. Edward's infatuation with Gaveston, and the deluge of riches he showered on him, nearly plunged England into civil war.
Now the object of that scandalous and legendary obsession tells his side of the story in THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON:
"Mayhap even now, when I have only just begun, it is already too late to set the story straight. My infamy, I fear, is too well entrenched. Whenever they tell the story of Edward's reign I will always be the villain and Edward, the poor, weak-willed, pliant king who fell under my spell, the golden victim of a dark enchantment. There are two sides to every coin; but when the bards and chroniclers, the men who write the histories, tell this story, will anyone remember that?"
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Discussion Questions for
THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON:
(1) Is Gaveston his own worst enemy? Explain.
(2) What do you think causes Gaveston to sabotage himself by flirting with his enemies, being unfaithful to Edward, and any other examples you can think of?
(3) What do you think is Richmond's motivation for becoming Gaveston's lover? Why does he desert Gaveston later?
(4) Discuss the various women in Gaveston's life and his relationships with them.
(5) What do you think would have happened if Gaveston had remained in exile?
(6) What, if anything, could Gaveston have done to deal with Edward's possessiveness?
(7) Discuss the symbolism of the pearl embellished gloves in the chapter "Trouble Brewing" which Gaveston literally throws down before the swine.
(8) Gaveston spends a lot of time saying he doesn't want the rich gifts Edward gives him. Is he sincere?
(9) At what point in the novel do we see the real Piers Gaveston? How do you know?
(10) Gaveston often slips from elegant speech to quite crude references. What does this lend to your understanding of him and of the novel?
(11) Is Pembroke an "honorable man"? Why or why not?
(12) Discuss the personalities and motivations of the Earls of Warwick, Lancaster, Lincoln, and Pembroke, and their feelings about Gaveston. Why do they hate him?
(13) Are Gaveston's feelings for Pembroke sincere? Explain.
(14) When Gaveston is named "Lord of Misrule" at Christmas his enemies say now he has been given his rightful title; do you agree or disagree? Explain.
(15) What do you think would have happened if Gaveston was not executed when he was?
(16) Do you think justice prevailed in the end? Why or why not?
(17) Who do you think is the villain of the novel? The hero? Explain.