Conflict in A Man for All Seasons

Essay by KDDOBHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 2004

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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

Henry, he...