A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt - Essay Example

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Course: Date: Paper Title: Order#: 613575 Topic: A Man for all Seasons by Robert Bolt Introduction “A Man for all Seasons,” by Robert Bolt relates to an individual who refuses to sacrifice his beliefs. Sir Thomas More is not inclined to take a favorable stand on King Henry VIII’s divorce to Catherine…
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A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt
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Paper Order 613575 Topic: A Man for all Seasons by Robert Bolt Introduction “A Man for all Seasons,” by Robert Bolt relates to an individual who refuses to sacrifice his beliefs. Sir Thomas More is not inclined to take a favorable stand on King Henry VIII’s divorce to Catherine. He was asked to give his opinion but he answered with profound silence. He withstood the pressures from friends, family members and faced ridicule from political foes. The King wanted to have his way, and planned to use him as the lever to push his cause. The King wished to have the Act of Supremacy passed, that states the King would be the supreme authority of the Church, not the Pope. More was unwilling to sign such an Act, and his rigid stand on the issue landed him in serious trouble. King’s divorce was the inciting incident that set forth the chain reactions, caused turmoil in the state and created anguish with majority of the people. Rising action and climax: With Cardinal Wolsey’s death Thomas More is appointed in his place. He is a God fearing and religious man. To terminate relationship with Rome may be easy for a die-hard politician like the King, with motivated desires to establish the Church of England. The King is in a dilemma, or at least he pretends to be in one. He is desperately in need of some man of reputation to support his ill-conceived moves. A draft is put up before the Parliament, contents of which were nothing but guile of the King’s self-seeking supporters that people must abide by it under oath. More refuses and is thrown behind the bars. More goes through the trial and the charges for high treason are proved for which the punishment is death. Robert Bolt’s “A Man for all Seasons,” fits well into the Aristotle’s six elements of play. Plot refers to the arrangements of the incidents. The plot of this play relates to the historical events of the Sixteenth Century. The authors portrays through the character of Sir Thomas More, the noble qualities needed by the present-day leaders. The play is in two acts. The first Act deals with the political situation faced by Sir Thomas More. The second act deals with his steadfast resistance to the evil designs of the king, for which he is tried, put in prison and beheaded. King Henry would go to any extent to secure his desires. He wanted dissolution of his marriage with Catherine, his Queen, for political reasons which needed approval of Pope in Rome. Cardinal Wolsey wanted Sir Thomas to do this job of securing the consent of Pope, but he declined and remained silent and would not give his opinion in favor of disfavor of the King’s conduct on this issue. He lands up in jail for his silence, a sham trial follows for treason and he is beheaded. Before that in the inquiry committee Norfolk persuades Thomas More to sign the Act of Succession to which he replies, “And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, and I am doomed for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?”(78) Characters are the mainstay of the story after the plot. Robert Bolt has provided strong characters—the important characters are Sir Thomas More, the protagonist, Henry (King Henry VIII, King of England), Duke of Norfolk, Thomas More’s friend, Alice, Thomas More’s wife, Margaret, Thomas More’s daughter, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, William Roper, husband of Margaret, Thomas Cranmer, Matthew, the Steward and Richard Rich, the opposite character of Thomas More. The characters are brought together through a powerful web, keeping the audience on tenterhooks about the final outcome. The King is the central character, the driver of the small and big events. Language (accent) for the time frame in which the play is n set: The play is set in the Reformation Period of Britain. It was the era of Renaissance, specifically from 1529 to 1535.King Henry VIII, the second Tudor King of England ruled. (1509 to 1547)The world witnessed exciting time during the early part of the sixteenth century. Printing Press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450. Columbus reached America in 1492.Sir Thomas Moore was in Chelsea, which is a district in London. King’s residence was in Hampton Court, London. Thought refers to the inner world of the characters. Each character puts forth the values and convictions for which it stands for. Proverbs and maxims add charm to the language expressed by them and win the appreciation of the audience. Thomas More’s convictions as depicted by Robert Bolt read thus: God made "man to serve him wittingly, in the tangle of his mind! If he suffers us to fall to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand our tackle as best we can. . . But it's God's part, not our own, to bring ourselves to that extremity! Our natural business lies in escaping!" (126) Spectacle pertains to the dramatic end, the intensity with which the author leads to that stage. It is admirably conceived and the exchanges between the characters are memorable. The rough spots in the story are handled well. Though the end of Thomas More is on the expected lines, how the author succeeds in keeping the tempo and the element of suspense throughout the play remains interesting, and the reader has no chance to take issues for granted. Explaining the merits of a tragedy Aristotle writes, “….the best kind is precisely one in which a change to bad fortune is imminent…” (xxxxiv) A death sentence to a noble individual--what else misfortune can one expect? Conclusion It’s a historic story, conceived into an all-time great drama. The attitudes of the characters good or bad are acceptable as they profess and do what they believe to be truth. The highest religious authority for the Catholics, POPE, is challenged by the King. The highest secular authority, the King is challenged by his own subject that leads to death penalty which he accepts with courage and fortitude. The drama has magical elements of a great, classic tragedy. Works Cited Aristotle (Author), Heath, Malcolm (Translator).Poetics (Penguin Classics).Penguin Classics.1997 Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons: A Play in Two Acts. Vintage Inter. 1990 Read More
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