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Responsibility in A Man For All Seasons Essay


Cromwell says to More you brought yourself to where you stand now. Is More responsible for what happened to him in A Man for All Seasons?.

In the play A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt, to a certain extent More is responsible for his fate, however he only responded the way he did due to the 'evil' threats from others. Although it was Mores choice to neither deny nor accept the Kings wishes, it was ultimately Cromwell, Rich and King Henrys choice to show no hesitation in condemning him to death. As the play unfolds it becomes increasingly clear that in response to a deceitful mans actions More does what is perceived to be morally right. As a result Bolt sets up the audience to admire the beauty of Mores behaviour, and to disapprove the behaviour of Cromwell, Rich and King Henry.

More by some Is viewed as a naive man for remaining silent, when in actual fact he could have remained chancellor by simply conforming to the views of his peers. However he is viewed as a martyr and a hero for defying a King, country and an institution on the basis of doing what is morally right. More could have easily lied and agreed with the King, however More being an honest subject runs in accordance with his conscience when you die, and you are sent to heaven for following your conscience and I am sent for hell for not doing mine. Even after many attempts from the cunning King Henry at bullying More into the right choice More remains silently strong. This is shown when More and King Henry are having a heated discussion, King Henry states why cant you see everyone else does and I will have no opposition, your conscience is your own affair but youre my chancellor. This sense of doing what is right is further reinforced when More is being questioned by Cromwell and More states some men think the earth is round, others think it is flat, it is a matter of capable question. But if it is flat, will the Kings command make it round? And if it is round will the Kings command flatten it, No I will not sign. Therefore to a certain extent More is responsible for the silence, when in actual fact he could have saved himself from the fate that was tailored by his own actions. However his fate was not totally his own doing, it was executed by others with selfish intentions.

Cromwell and Rich show no hesitation in maliciously shaping Mores fate. They do so in gathering empty evidence, and try to falsify it to convict More. Although they are working for the King and in other words they are the Kings puppets, they didnt have to stoop extremely low to fabricate evidence that was never really there. This is shown when Rich attempts to gain a job from Cromwell, and Cromwell attempts to receive information on More in return for a comfortable job for Rich. Cromwell says what would you repeat, Rich replies with nothing said in friendship, Cromwell says oh come on Rich, and Rich hesitantly said well it would depend on what I was offered. Rich then goes and divulges the information of the bribe More received. This is further reinforced in court when Rich purges himself and is being questioned to convict More. Norfolk states repeat what the prisoner said, Rich replies with parliament has not the competence. Therefore both Rich and Cromwell both contributed to condemning More and placing him in the position he eventuated in. since ultimately they couldve refrained from stooping to a gutless level to fabricate evidence to convict More.

King Henry was a main contributor in sealing Mores fate, since if it wasnt for him wanting to convert the religion of a whole country for a divorce More wouldnt have had to act in such an extreme manner. King Henry needed More to either be a good man and agree with his proposition or a bad man that could be convicted of treason. Firstly King Henry tried to gain Mores right stance through persuasive friendly conversation there are those like Norfolk who follow me because I wear the crown, and there are those like master Cromwell who follow me because they are Jackals with sharp teeth and I am their lion, and then there is a mass that follows me because they follow anything that moves- and then there is you. However once King Henry realises this method of coercion isnt applicable to More, he turns devious and attempts to convict More for Treason by instructing his puppets to do his dirty work for him. Therefore to a major extent King Henry is at fault for sealing Mores fate to that of death, when he simply could have left More in silence.

Therefore we can see that More to contributed to his death. Since if he told a 'simple' lie he would have remained statesmen and have lived a comfortable life. However More was not alone at fault in the concoction of his fate .Rich Cromwell and King Henry all contributed by allowing a conflicting situation to occur and then falsifying empty evidence to make More seem bad. When they simply could have left him alone in silence. Bolt ultimately compares the two types to show how admirable Mores behaviour is, in comparison to how dis-honest Rich, Cromwell and King Henry are.

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