Man for all Seasons by Robert Bolt - Essay Example

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The character of the Common Man serves many purposes. He is narrator, actor and commentator, explaining historical context and setting the scene. By standing outside the action, then taking up roles within it, he states what the author believes; that no matter how ordinary or insignificant he may seem, his involvement is unavoidable - he is part of history…
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Essay Man for all Seasons by Robert Bolt
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Download file to see previous pages Bolt says in his Preface, e is harder to find than a unicorn...but I thought I heard once or twice, a rueful note of recognition.(xviii & xix). In the steward, the boatman and the jailer, all these contradictory elements are portrayed.
All demonstrate the virtue of working hard for a living. Matthew faithfully serves More until he can no longer pay him the wages he is accustomed to, and can perceive the differences between a good person and one of little integrity, as he shows contempt for Rich. The boatman, though moaning about running costs and family commitments, seems to know his business and does his job well. The overly-cautious jailer says of his occupation, t's a job like any other job.(Act 2 p. 75). There are actually indications of some loyalty, which could be construed as worldly wisdom and shrewdness, but whatever the motivation, they exist. Matthew gives Cromwell and Chapuys useless information, hat I can tell them is common knowledge!..everyone wants value for his money.(Act 1 p. 25). The boatman stays to serve More, despite recognizing the power of Cromwell, he coming man. while the jailer refuses the fifty guinea bribe, I want no part of it. They can sort it out between them. I feel my deafness coming on.(Act 2 p. 80).
Matthew feels guilt when refusing to stay with a poorer More, but resentment flares because of how he perceives the world, believing More is tricking him when he expresses affection and says he will miss him. "Miss me What's in me for him to miss...I nearly fell for it. (Act 2 p. 57). It is not his nature to understand More's affection, considering he only wants a cheaper servant. So greed and expediency are presented, along with 'looking out for Number One.' Further proof of this is shown when he goes to work for Rich, h, I can manage this one. He's just my size!(Act 2 p 62), suggesting he sees similarities in their characters, things he does not respect, but accepting that is the way in his world. With the boatman, though willing to serve More, seeming to like and respect him, his own needs are paramount, expect you'll make it worth my while, sir.(Act 1, p. 14). The same attention to the self is expressed by the jailer when he orders More's family to leave on the dot of seven, despite knowing this is their last moment together. 'm a plain simple man and just want to keep out of trouble.Act 2 p. 88). All three are motivated by serving their own needs, keeping themselves safe no matter what. They all lack moral courage to stand up for someone or something they respect and know to be worth supporting.
These elements which exist in the Common Man in all his guises are present in every person. The 16th Century is declared at the outset as the 'century of the Common Man, but Bolt wanted to show the audience that this character is timeless. He is not necessarily bad or wicked, but like everyone, has virtues and vices, and is swayed by circumstances encountered in life. There is no doubt that he recognizes an intrinsically good person, but has not the courage or conviction to be associated with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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