Essay on a Man For All Seasons - By Robert Bolt: Mores Moral Dilemma

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"A Man for All Seasons" by Robert Bolt: More's Moral Dilemma

     During the English renaissance in the 1500's, King Henry VIII wants a divorce from his wife for various reasons, but divorce is against the Catholic religion. This is why he wants Sir Thomas More's consent, because More is a highly respected Catholic, but he is such a good Catholic that he goes against divorce. In the play, A Man for All Seasons, by Robert Bolt, King Henry VIII applies pressure on Thomas More to support the divorce in many ways. He exerts it both directly and indirectly in forms of threats and intimidation from various people. Henry forces Meg, More's "renaissance woman" daughter, to take an oath in order to
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More still sticks to what he believes in, because he believes that he must always do what God wants him to do, for there is no limit to what god can "reasonably want." Meg does as much as she can to persuade More to support the King, but it does not work, and More sticks to his morals.
     Henry also orders Cromwell to pressure More to support the divorce. At first, Cromwell informs More directly that the king is not pleased with him, and then says, "Yet you do not know that even now, if you could bring yourself to agree with the Universities, the Bishops and the Parliament of this realm, there is no honor which the King would be likely to deny you?" (page 66). More acknowledges this and says, "I am well acquainted with His Grace's generosity,"
(page 66). Cromwell wants More to know that the king still has great respect for him, and if he supports the divorce there would be "no honor which the King would be likely to deny" him. More is not greatly affected by this type of pressure however, because he is the type of man that does not let rewards tempt him to go against his morals. Cromwell realizes that More is stubborn on this issue, and wants to execute him, so to More he directly reads the charges against him, "That you did conspire traitorously and maliciously to deny and deprive our liege lord Henry of his undoubted certain title Supreme Head of the
Church of England," (pages 86- 87). More