A Man for All Seasons Essay

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In the beginning of A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More is introduced as a profoundly religious man focused on adhering to the laws of his country and faith. As the play progresses the audience sees More putting further faith into his belief that by abiding to the present laws and withholding his opinion about King Henry VIII’s divorce he will be protected from prosecution. The issue starts when the King wishes to divorce his brother’s wife, who initially he had taken as his own through a special papal dispensation, in order to wed Queen Anne and produce a male heir. More, being a devoutly religious man, realizes this goes against the laws of the Church. He refuses to give his willing approval based on the fact it is not morally or…show more content…
He believes that if he is summoned to the Court that the jury will look at the evidence and realize there is no probable content to convict him of, therefore, proving him to be an innocent man who has done no wrong. More distinctly states this belief when he tells Cromwell, “The law requires more than an assumption; the law requires a fact.” -Sir Thomas More, pg 131
However, he has not planned for a false testimony from Richard Rich at his trial. Rich testifies that More has committed the act of treason by rejecting the authority of King Henry VIII as head of the Church in England. As king of England, Henry has the power and the unquestionable authority to act based off his own desires even if they are not legally or morally acceptable. Because his current wife, Catherine, who was also his brother’s widow, has failed to birth a son, he wishes to divorce her and take Queen Anne as his new wife. Without a male heir to the throne, Henry’s lineage will come to an end and England will be left without a successor. He admits this to More during their meeting in Act 1, saying,
“Thomas, Thomas, does a man need a Pope to tell him when he’s sinned? It was a sin, Thomas; I admit it; I repent. And God has punished me; I have no son … Son after son she’s borne me, Thomas, all dead at birth, or dead within the month; I never saw the hand of God so clear in
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