In England, during the Renaissance, Henry XIII wants to divorce his
wife, Catharine of Arigon. To look good in-front of his people, Henry asks Sir
Thomas 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 Henry
XIII through Thomas Cromwell, The Duke of Norfolk, and Alice More.
These pressures involve Thomas More in a battle of will, in which he faces a
moral dilemma. Thomas Cromwell, More's clever enemy, pressures Thomas
More to succumb to King Henry's demands. More's lost friend, The Duke of
Norfolk, "for friendships sake" also wants More to succumb to the king's
demands. Lastly, Thomas's own wife, Alice More, wants him to give in to the
king's demands, so that they may return to their normal lives, and not have to
worry every day for eachothers' safety and well-being.
These three people,
though for different reasons, exert pressure on Thomas More to succumb to
King Henry's demands. Though More resists these pressures, and keeps his
moral integrity, he is executed.
Throughout the play, Cromwell pressures Thomas More to go against
his morals, and succumb to King Henry's demands. When More is called to
Cromwell'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 do
you know that even now, if you could bring yourself to agree with the
universities, the bishops, and the Parliament of this realm, there is no honor
which the king would be likely to deny you," (p. 114). Cromwell attempts to
get More to agree with the king by saying, as long as More agrees with