Free Study Guide for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt|
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Cromwell jumps to questions about More’s opinion of the marriage of the king and Queen Anne. More counters with a reminder that he is not to be asked questions on the subject. The aim of these charges is to terrify him, More says. He is not so easily terrified.
Cromwell reads from a paper saying that the king charges More with ingratitude. In return for all the king has given him, More is treasonous. That is the king’s belief.
Then, Cromwell tells More that he can leave “for now.”
After More leaves, Rich asks Cromwell if he is still sure that he can frighten More. Cromwell is sure that they will be able to do that. Once More is destroyed; obtaining his blessing will not be necessary. They are deeply into this project. The king’s conscience demands action.
The Holy Maid of Kent, whose name was Elizabeth Barton, was a servant for a steward on an estate of William Warham, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury. She had trances in which she foresaw the future and made political statements. She claimed that she talked to Mary, Jesus’ mother. Her parish priest reported all this to Archbishop Warham. Arrangements were made for her to enter a convent. While in a trance, Barton urged King Henry not to divorce Queen Katherine. She prophesied that, if he proceeded with the divorce, he would not remain king. Some say that she confronted the king himself on one occasion. After the king’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, Archbishop Cranmer, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, investigated Barton. She confessed publicly that the trances and visions were an act. In April of 1534, Barton was hanged.
King Henry VIII wrote “A Defence of the Seven Sacraments Against Martin Luther” in 1521. This was at a time when he was happy in his marriage to Queen Katherine and at a time when, it is said, he attended Mass six times in one day.
When More compliments Rich’s costume, we are reminded of the earlier time when Rich was unhappy with his station in life. He wanted to better his position and to become rich. He may have succeeded in gaining what he wanted, but what has he lost in the transition?
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on A Man For All Seasons".
. 09 May 2017