English Essay - A Man For All Seasons
Comparing Thomas More vs. Richard Rich
In his preface to the play, Bolt calls More "a hero of selfhood." More refuses to
sacrifice his self, which he defines by his moral conscience, even as he sacrifices his life.
Robert Bolt tries to represent his characters in the form of symbolism turns out to
be a major force driving the action of the play. Characters are motivated by More's
reputation as a moral man, not by More's individual characteristics. Perhaps, in fact,
More stands for being perceived as a saint or a moral man. Throughout the play,
characters such as Rich view More as a representative of a concept rather than as a
person. His consent is important to the king and to Norfolk because it would make them
feel and appear moral. Chapuys - a character in the play sees More as an upstanding
moral and religious man, and Chapuys takes comfort in the fact that the virtues More
represents contradict the king's actions.
Though More was much later sainted for his refusal to swear an oath to king
henery's supremacy to the pope, Bolt does not depict More as someone who ascribes to
religious dogma of any sort. As a hero, More is more existential than religious, because
he looks inwardly for his motivations and does not rely on any external ideals to guide his
speech and actions. In fact, More's morals are continually shifting, and he surprises
Chapuys and other characters with his sharp wit and unexpected pragmatism. . If an ideal
agrees with his conscience, More will do his best to live up to it; if not, he will discard it.
Richard Rich symbolizes the tendency to succumb to the temptation of wealth and
status. Rich and are the...