In Left-Handed Liberty John Arden takes Magna Carta signed between King John and the Barons in 1215, and reinterprets it from a perspective which asserts that it is not, in fact, a milestone on the path to liberty as was officially claimed. Although based on historical documents, Arden's play does not treat history didactically. He is indeed the master of conveying the social and political life of man within the context of real life experiences which always overflow political identities. Hence, for instance, King John is reinterpreted as a weakling rather than a tyrant as the conventional reading of historical documents portrayed him.
Taking an unconventional approach to the Great Charter as the “cornerstone” of the path to human rights, John Arden fills in the “opinions” of the important personages partaking in the shaping of the events during the period and adds, as he says in the introduction to the play, “facts” that cannot perhaps be found among the historical documents but are still justifiable within the historical framework of Medieval Europe.
Keywords: history, Magna Carta, document, imagination, ideology