Free Study Guide for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt|
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Bolt wrote “Ryan’s Daughter,” “Vivant! Vivant! Regina!,” and “Lady Caroline Lamb.” These three were scripts rather than screenplays.
Bolt reworked the story of the Bounty mutiny. It was called simply “Bounty.” His final movie was “The Mission,” which was not ready for production until after his death.
Robert Bolt’s son, Ben Bolt, is a television director, having directed, among other shows, episodes of LA Law, and Hill Street Blues.
This play is laid out in a very interesting, exciting time, the reign of the second Tudor king, King Henry VIII. Henry’s brother, Arthur, was expected to be king, but he died before taking the throne. Henry, besides taking his brother’s place as king, was also expected to take his place as husband to Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of the Spanish king. Marriage was, in this case as in others, an important way to bind two countries together. But, it was not considered proper for a man to marry his brother’s widow, so a special dispensation was obtained from the Pope in Rome. At first the couple was happy enough. The King was, in this period, a strong Catholic. He even wrote “A Defence of the Seven Sacraments against Martin Luther.” For this he was declared Defender of the Faith by the Pope.
However, as the years passed, Henry became concerned that Queen Catherine was not likely to give him a son. At the same time he was becoming enamored of Anne Boleyn. He felt that God was punishing him for marrying his brother’s wife. He wanted a divorce from Catherine.
During earlier medieval times, the Catholic Church stood alone and above the rulers of countries. But as the Reformation took hold, people began to think differently. Martin Luther put into writing and the spoken word what others were thinking. People began to take sides. Were they for the Catholic Church or against it?
When the Pope refused to dissolve his marriage, Henry was able to take advantage of the new thinking and find another way to get the divorce that he wanted. And, while he was at it, he also broke England away from Rome.
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on A Man For All Seasons".
. 09 May 2017