Prince John is an injudicious, arrogant, petulant, suspicious, and conniving man whose bravery is always in question. He trusts no one, as the spy-upon-spy episode toward the end of the narrative indicates. He lives in fear of his brother's return, although more from fear of loss of power than from any danger to his person. When he tells De Bracy, "I seek no safety for myself, that I could secure by a word spoken to my brother," it is not all bravado. It proved to be true. King Richard took no action against his brother at all. In turn, John only seeks imprisonment for Richard. It is Fitzurse who threatens the king's life.
Those closest to him have no respect for him and maintain loyalty only for their own ambitious ends. He revels in the acclaim of the crowds and in a display of power. He appears to delight in setting one faction upon another.