Conflict In A Man For All Seasons

1686 words - 7 pages

In England, during the Renaissance, Henry XIII wants to divorce hiswife, Catharine of Arigon. To look good in-front of his people, Henry asks SirThomas More, a well respected lawyer and citizen, to support the divorce.This presents Sir Thomas More with an inner conflict. In Robert Bolt's play,A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More resists pressures exerted by HenryXIII through Thomas Cromwell, The Duke of Norfolk, and Alice More.These pressures involve Thomas More in a battle of will, in which he faces amoral dilemma. Thomas Cromwell, More's clever enemy, pressures ThomasMore to succumb to King Henry's demands. More's lost friend, The Duke ofNorfolk, "for friendships sake" also wants More to succumb to the king'sdemands. Lastly, Thomas's own wife, Alice More, wants him to give in to theking's demands, so that they may return to their normal lives, and not have toworry every day for eachothers' safety and well-being. These three people,though for different reasons, exert pressure on Thomas More to succumb toKing Henry's demands. Though More resists these pressures, and keeps hismoral integrity, he is executed.Throughout the play, Cromwell pressures Thomas More to go againsthis morals, and succumb to King Henry's demands. When More is called toCromwell's office, to hear the "charges" that have been brought against him,More is told that siding with the King would be beneficial to him. "Yet doyou know that even now, if you could bring yourself to agree with theuniversities, the bishops, and the Parliament of this realm, there is no honorwhich the king would be likely to deny you," (p. 114). Cromwell attempts toget More to agree with the king by saying, as long as More agrees withHenry, he will grant More many favors. However, More explains toCromwell that he simply can not do this and, by turning down Cromwell, hesticks to his conscience and morals. Cromwell pressures More with deathwhen he, Cranmer, and Norfolk are in the jail, trying to encourage More tosign the Act of Succession. More does not believe that they can do anythingmore than jail him; however, Cromwell replies "Yet the state has harsherpunishments," (p.133). Until this point, More feels that if he keeps silent hewill be safe, even though he's in prison. However, Cromwell's threatemphasizes to More the willingness of the King to have him killed, if he doesnot fulfill his wishes. Finally, Cromwell also tries to pressure More at the endof the trial. After More realizes that the trial has been rigged, and that he is atthe mercy of the King, Cromwell says the following. "Now I must ask theCourt's indulgence! I have a message for the prisoner from the King. SirThomas, I am empowered to tell you that even now-," (p. 158). Cromwell isreminding More, that even though he has been convicted, he can still sign theAct and be exonerated of all the charges. However, More replies "No no, itcannot be," proving that More has strong morals. Even though he knows thathe is going to be killed for it, he would...

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