Free Study Guide for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt|
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More’s response to Wolsey is:
“I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties... they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”
Wolsey taunts More with the idea of governing the country by prayers. The Cardinal asks who should come after him. Wolsey suggests Cromwell. More says that he would prefer to do it himself if the other choice was Cromwell.
Wolsey tells Sir Thomas that he should know that, until he comes around, he has an enemy, Wolsey himself.
More says that he has been on the river. This is a reference to water. Water is a symbol used throughout the play.
Wolsey’s stretching of the truth about what time it is illustrates his willingness to stretch the truth in other situations.
More shows that he is good at skirting issues when Wolsey asks him for his opinion of the dispatch for Rome. He comments on the phrasing of it rather than its contents. He would have lived if he had been able to skirt the issues surrounding the king’s marriage.
The king makes a non-appearance in this scene. One gets the feeling that he is on stage more than once because he is so frequently the center of the story.
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on A Man For All Seasons".
. 09 May 2017