Free Study Guide for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt|
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More wants to know if lies will help the king.
Cromwell calls his witness, Richard Rich. Examination reveals that, on March 12 th , Rich went to the Tower, where More was imprisoned, to remove his books. Rich testifies that More told him that Parliament does not have the right to make King Henry VIII Head of the Church. There were two people nearby, but they were not close enough to hear what More said. More says that Rich would have called the men to witness them if that were truly what he said. Cromwell asks Rich if he desires to change his testimony and Rich does not.
Sir Thomas is asked if he has anything to add. He says that he is on trial, not for what he did, but for what is in his heart. He says that, if men do not listen to their hearts, soon their hearts disappear.
As Rich withdraws, More asks to see the chain he is wearing. It is the chain of Attorney General for Wales. Bush chides him about how little his soul cost.
Cromwell has one more message from the king for More, but More doesn’t want to hear it. It is time for the jury to consider the evidence. Cromwell prods the jury foreman into giving the verdict without bothering to retire for consideration. More is guilty of High Treason. More reminds the court that the accused should be consulted before the sentence is pronounced. So, Norfolk asks him if he desires to speak. He does. It is time for him to speak his mind. This Act of Parliament is against the Law of God. However, it is not for the Act that he is to be killed. It is because he would not accept the marriage.
The Duke of Norfolk, More’s “friend,” reads the sentence as the scene changes. More is to be beheaded.
Sir Thomas More has a complete change of attitude after he finds out that he is to die. He no longer has to protect himself. He speaks his mind.
When Cromwell mentions witnesses not preventing an injustice, it foreshadows what the jury will soon do when they allow themselves to be used to make the beheading of an innocent man appear to be legitimate.
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on A Man For All Seasons".
. 09 May 2017