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Free Study Guide for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt

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SCENE SUMMARIES WITH NOTES


ACT TWO

SCENE FOUR


Summary

The setting for this scene is Sir Thomas Moreís home in Chelsea. It is a bit shabbier than the last time we were here. Chapuys, the Spanish ambassador, and his attendant, arrive. Alice comes down the stairs. She tells Chapuys that she does not want her husband to meet with him. But, he cannot leave yet, he says. First, there is a Royal Commission to be performed. She still does not want them to meet, but she knows that she cannot stop the meeting from taking place. She leaves Chapuys and his attendant alone, awaiting Moreís descent.

The attendant comments on the chill in the room. It was not like this the last time they were there. This is what happens when one is in disfavor with their king.

Chapuys simplistically thinks that the world is divided into two camps. One camp is the good people. They all side with Spain. The other camp is the bad people. They are not on the side of Spain. There is no third choice.

More enters. Chapuys looks at his worn clothing and tells him that in Spain life for him would be good. More wants to get to the business part of the meeting.

Chapuys says that he has a letter for him from his master, the King of Spain. But, More refuses to take it. It is not about the affairs of state. The king admires the stand that More and Bishop Fisher of Rochester have taken. More rebuts, saying that he has taken no stand. He has not taken a stand and the king would not be pleased with the letter. The king would consider it to be dealing with affairs of state. The letter should be taken to the king. More is loyal to the king. His loyalty has been misunderstood. Word of his loyalty has not been disseminated as widely as gossip about his views has.


Margaret enters and then, from another direction, Alice also enters. Margaret has bracken for fuel for a fire. She says that Will is bringing more. More is pleased because fuel means that they will have heat. And, Alice is pleased. Sir Thomas takes the letter to Alice and Margaret to have them witness that it has not been opened. More tells Chapuys that he regrets that he cannot stay to enjoy the fire. This is Chapuys cue to leave with his attendant, and he does.

Alice is weary. More tries to make Alice understand why he could not take money from the bishops without telling her too much. She calls their situation poverty. He contradicts her. Then he adds that even if they were truly beggars, they could still be happy together. Margaret agrees with Alice. Alice says that money from the bishops would simply be charity. More counters that it would appear to be a payment. If the king decides to take further action, even the appearance of receiving payment from the Church would be dangerous.

Will Roper, Margaretís husband, enters. He announces that someone is there from Hampton Court, the Kingís residence. More is to answer charges before Secretary Cromwell. He is to go now. Alice is distressed and Margaret wants to go with him. More refuses to allow it. There is no reason because he will be back quickly. In response to Roper, More says that Cromwell is not the devil. He is a lawyer.


Notes

Sir Thomas More, in this scene, showed his loyalty to his country by showing loyalty to the king.

Bishop Fisher of Rochester was a bishop who died at the same time and for the same reason as Sir Thomas More. Earlier, in better days, he had helped the king write about the Church, as did Sir Thomas.


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