Thomas More

Essay by Elizabeth ParrHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1996

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Thomas More: A Man For All Seasons

In A Man For All Seasons, Thomas More was found guilty of treason because he refused to support King Henry VIII's decision to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon. The King sought this divorce because he wanted to marry his mistress, Anne Boleyne. King Henry contended he was entitled to the divorce because Catherine had been married to Arthur, Henry's older brother. Upon Arthur's death, Catherine was betrothed to Henry. Although King Henry had received prior church approval to marry Catherine, he pointed out to the Pope that according to the Bible, it was wrong to marry your brother's wife.

More did not accept King Henry's argument. As More saw it, King Henry should not be allowed the divorce because his marriage had been approved previously by the Pope.

I believe that Thomas More was treated unfairly in A Man For All Seasons for two reasons.

First, Henry promised to leave More out of the divorce proceedings, and then he broke that promise. Second, More was treated unjustly during his trials.

Early in the film, King Henry paid a visit to More, his chancellor. During the visit, it became apparent that the King thought of Thomas as more than a chancellor; he viewed More as a friend. Henry respected More's opinion, and became extremely frustrated with his many attempts to persuade More to accept the divorce. Finally, when the King realized that More could not accept the divorce, he promised to exempt More from any decisions pertaining to the divorce.

The leader of the divorce campaign was Thomas Cromwell, who was next in line for the chancellor's position. He framed More hoping that More would be forced to resign as chancellor. Cromwell then wrote an oath which forced people to prove they...