Bolt's "A Man for All Seasons"

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 1996

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Reading about individuals whose ways of life are dramatically different from our own provides readers with fresh insights into their own experiences and ideas. A reader of A Man for All Seasons, by Robert Bolt, may not be accustomed to the actions of the play's characters. Though, it is important to figure out and understand why the character reacts or acts as he/she does. This enables the reader to have a new or modified outlook on his/her own actions. If one turns the kaleidoscope of his/her life just a little, the world becomes a different place.

Sir Thomas More lived the type of life that is foreign to many readers. More's actions were all based upon two things, his conscience and God. When More is being pressured into signing the oath by Norfolk in the name of fellowship, he replies by saying, ' And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me for fellowship?'(77).

He adheres to his philosophy and conscience, knowing that he will inevitably be executed. One who is reading this may reply by thinking More's decision was asinine. The reader may believe that life is the greatest value to man, and to place anything above it would be asinine. More's behavior was bizarre even to his own time period. His daughter, Margaret, pleaded for him to sign the oath, 'Then say the words of the oath and in your heart think otherwise'(81). Her father could not morally be satisfied by this. More believed that when an oath is taken, one is placing his pledging his self and soul. ' When a man takes an oath, Meg, he's holding his own self...