While Sir Thomas More is the plays hero, the Common Man is the Man for All Seasons. Do you agree?
In Robert Bolts play, A Man For All Seasons, the lead character, Sir Thomas More, had the option to conform like the rest of society, however, he chose to make a choice that he felt was correct, and stood behind it until the end. With the courage to battle the King of England, Sir Thomas More was perceived to lead a silent attack on the Throne. His resolution to protest the unlawful marriage of King Henry and Anne Boleyn was rooted in Christian beliefs and morals. His refusal to accept the divorce of Henry and Catherine allowed for much speculation, however, Mores selection remained steadfast, as did his character, while enduring harsh criticism. More is truly A Man For All Seasons in light of his ability to remain true to his beliefs, family, and country when faced with adverse situations. More has been called the hero of the play; hero according to the Concise English Dictionary is described as a man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility and strength. To some extent, he is also A Man for All seasons. A Man for All Seasons is the man for all occasions, who is involved in every event and stays constant with time. On the other hand, a Man for All Seasons can be defined as a man who changes according to the time and is a survivor, thus, the Common Man and Richard Rich.
"A man can be destroyed but not defeated" is a premise that is clearly demonstrated by Sir Thomas More. As the former Lord Chancellor of England, More is the only man who truly sees problems his own ways. He held onto his convictions and beliefs by refusing to support his King on the issue of divorcing his wife Catherine. In the process of holding onto his beliefs, he is pressured by his family, his friends, and the court of justice. Unfortunately, he is executed, but remains a legacy to the people. Despite his death, he reminds others that they should hold on to their moral beliefs, no matter what happens. More's family went through great lengths in order to persuade More to swear to the Act of Succession. When a man takes an oath, Meg, hes holding his own self in own hands. If More would swear to the oath, it would free him from the charges of high treason. But, More kept his integrity and became a hero of the self.
An author, humanist and lawyer who is a forester of the law, Sir Thomas More is A Man for All Seasons. Yet, as a dedicated catholic, More will not compromise his beliefs, and refuses to accept Henry VIIIs break with Rome over his divorce and remarriage. More was respected for his intellectual and moral integrity, for his refusal to submit his immortal soul to the rule of a secular king. He shows he can not be bought and does not have a price. No matter what comes Mores way he will stick to his beliefs. Truly, he was a man in all situations, A Man for All Seasons.
The Common Man in this play is meant to be taken as a character that everyone can identify with. The Common Man in this play is both universal and base in his character, and he does whatever is expected of him. "The sixteenth century is the century of the common man...like all other centuries. The Common Man assumed several different roles as they became necessary in the play. In each role, he portrayed a simple bystander in the midst of the chaos around him, mainly looking out for himself. Take for example when More is using the common man boat and the issue of payment comes up. He asks More to 'make it worth his while".
The common man refuses to take responsibility for himself, and waits for someone to help guide him. He uses other peoples misfortune to benefit himself, but also does not want to get in too deep for fear of not surviving. "And when I can't touch the bottom, I'll go deaf, dumb and blind."He is typical of us and just wants enough money to get by with, without getting into dangerous situations. Plain, simple man who just wants to keep out of trouble. He also shows how we will manipulate a situation to suit our own needs and wants. In the end he survives as the live rat
Richard Rich shows us the thought that 'all men have their price'. The play looks at how every character except More, is able to negotiate their principles in exchange for something that benefits them. This shows us that at the end of the day we all, other than a few, will only be looking out for our own self-interest. Rich is the type of person who will change his standards and opinions almost instantaneously. Rich is desperate to get a job with power, so much so that he is willing to drop his standards and sinks to the point of trying to bribe the 'Cardinal's outer doorman' in order to get closer to Wolsey. Rich tries to convince More to get him a place at court and is 'bitterly disappointed' when More suggests becoming a teacher instead. Rich sees his friendship with More as something that will make him more powerful. He thinks it as wrong to be 'a friend of Sir Thomas' and still have 'no office'. Whereas most will have friends for their company and things, Rich only uses More when it is expedient to himself. At one point he even tries to deny and evade his friendship with More.
As More says, death come for us all, my lord... their success is uncertain. More is saying that death makes common men of us all; survival cannot be the ultimate good. We should not be prepared to do anything merely to survive, since no one can guarantee their survival. We should think instead of how we will face the moment before death, when we are absolutely alone, stripped to our essential selves. It is this self that More stays loyal to and keeps intact. This courage makes More a great man, a hero, adaptable, moral and brave. He could be relied upon throughout any season, therefore A Man for All Seasons. On the other hand, Common man can also be considered as the Man for All Seasons as he displays change. The Common Man is the silent majority in the play and in the end, he survives through adapting to the differing situations, while in an underlying manner stays the same to connect with the audience. "If we should bump into each other, recognize me."