A Man For All Seasons

The change from night to day (81 ) Is conveyed using a simple change of lighting. Light conveys the notion of change. Many scene changes are followed by the subsequent change in lighting. Like the setting of the sun indicating the change into night. Bolt’s use of light gives the viewers an ability to feel the mood of the next scene and foreshadow the outcomes. The candle is used many times throughout the play and is a source of focused light. It Is small and casts a dim light, bringing the feeling of darkness and conspiracy. When taken away or blown out, it represents a change; the end of something.
Wolves exits the stage, ” taking most of the light from the stage as he does so” (13) giving the scene a dark and sinister feeling. It foreshadows the change of Lord Chancellor to Thomas More, and how this new position is going to be troublesome and fatal. Cromwell “[seizes] Rich by the wrist [and] he holds his hand in the candle flame” (46) frightening Rich and Introducing the feelings of cruelty and horror Into the atmosphere. Cromwell frightening action reflects what has happened In that scene; how Rich has now switched sides, ending his relationship with More.
Their friendship smoldering away eke a slow burn. Silences are as Important as dialogue in a play?discuss the most significant silent moments In the play and their Importance. There are many silences In the play, such as those of the common Man, who chose to maintain silence Instead of revealing the plotting against More. More had also kept silent as Rich took the silver cup which signifies corruption instead of the teaching Job, a way to benefit society. In Act II, More remains silent about Norfolk until he is sure that the friendship should be ended.

When Norfolk states that More should take the oath, More ends his silence s well as the friendship. The biggest silence Is Mere’s, which had kept him alive through the ordeal of King Henrys divorce until the very end. This silence, according to the bible, cannot be seen as dissent towards the king. He wittily uses this silence to his advantage in order to protect himself and his family against the law, as well as to prevent perjuring his beliefs. However, Cromwell argument that silence can signify affirmation with the example of the silent murder witnesses cost More his life.
More also protects his family from the law by refusing to answer them. The silence e maintains about his opinions with the Act of Supremacy Is foreshadowed by the takes offence, by staying silent in front of them, they are able to truthfully answer in a court of law that they do not know his opinions. Stage directions convey a great deal: how do the stage directions for the Common Man convey the plays ideas? The Common Man is used by Robert Bolt to change the setting of the stage in the play. Many times in the play, he changes the setting while in character.
He also addresses the audience and comments on the action as a character within the play. Robert Bolt uses the Common Man as a narrator through he stage directions to help the play to flow as a story rather than a play. Due to the Common Man’s stage directions, he is meant to draw the audience into the play rather than alienate them. He begins the first act by saying, “It is perverse! To start a play made up of kinds and Cardinals in speaking costumes and intellectuals with embroidered mouths, with me. (1) The Common Man is to represent the common type of people and through his actions and different characters throughout the play, the Common Man is relatable for the audience members and his reliability is conveyed through his stage directions. The Common Man is also used to highlight the traits of the other characters. As the boatman, he is used to demonstrate mere’s generosity. (15) The Common Man is also used to connect the two acts. At the beginning of Act II, the Common Man is used by Bolt to describe the change of time and setting, he sets up the scene by giving the audience some background.
The foreign water is emphasized by the Common Man’s speech at the beginning of Act II, “a lot of waters flowed under the bridge” (47). The Common Man is used as a tool to help bring the play together and to help develop the other characters within the lay. Thematic Questions: On page 1 5-16–More has a conversation with the boatman. Explore the ethical implications of ;their discussion. How does the imagery of the boat and water reflect those ideas? In the preface to the play, Robert Bolt addresses his usage of water “as a figure for the superhuman context. The sea is unpredictable, unknown and alien giving it a sense of supernaturalism. He states that his main metaphors are the sea and water; that the “references to ships, rivers, currents, tides, navigation” (xvi) are all used to create a poetic image with philosophical depth. He compares society by contrast figures as dry land. Although Thomas More grasps onto the safety of the law and land, his faith takes him out into the chaos of the sea. Within the play, the symbolism of Mere’s faith in God as water and his belief in the law as the land is explored.
Since Bolt intended the land to be considered to be a safe and known concept within the play, it can be compared to Mere’s knowledge in law. More is educated in law and he constantly uses the law to back his arguments. Due to mere’s knowledge of the law, he knows that he cannot be accused of high treason. “The law s a causeway upon which so long as he keeps to it a citizen may walk safely. ” (92) More is comparing the law to a citizen’s walkway, if the law is kept, the citizens should “When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands.
Like water and if he opens his fingers then- he needn’t hope to find himself again. “(83) Since More refuses to take the oath towards King Henrys divorce, he is avoiding the law. He is choosing his faith and religion over the law; water over land. By not taking the oath, More doesn’t open his fingers and he doesn’t lose himself. He stays rooted in his faith. Only God is love right through, Howard; and that’s my self. “(71) In the end, More explores the extent of his faith and he learns to walk on water, by putting all his trust in God and putting God above the law.
Character Questions: Compare and contrast Thomas More and William Roper. Thomas More and William Roper were both upright men who had a strong sense of morality and goodness. More and Roper differ in terms of religion. While More is unwavering in his Catholicism, Roper has swayed towards the Lutheran Church before turning back to Catholicism. More is modest in his dress, refusing to change even when the king visited. However, Roper is bold in clothing, changing into a magnificent black robe and cross after his conversion back to Catholicism. Bolt calls More “a hero of selfless. (xiv), referring to how he keeps his morals intact even when his life is threatened. Both men were well educated in law and put in service of the crown, with More as the lord chancellor and Roper “[being] called to the bar. ” (16) Thomas More is a conservative, sensible man with a solid foundation on his morals and beliefs. He is not outspoken about his ideas, and he tries to guide people in the eight direction by posing questions and choices instead of being direct. William Roper, however, is more liberal, and energetic. More is older and more experienced with life, careful with his speech and loyal to his conscience.
Roper speaks his mind, thinking little of the effects of his words. He is constantly voicing his opinions at every opportunity, leading to Mere’s warning to protect his family. He also stands very firm on his beliefs and what he feels is right. Roper is one to take quick action, doing what he wants to do. However, More is thoughtful about his actions, staying out of harms ay and hiding behind his knowledge of the law and having faith in it. Through Roper’s actions within the play, Roper is Mere’s foil and emphasizes Mere’s strong belief in God and the Church in contrast to his passion for whichever church he was in at the time.
Compare and contrast Cardinal Wolves and Thomas Cromwell. Cardinal Wolves and Thomas Cromwell were both key figures in this play, as influential members of government. They were both practical, politically aware men that played important roles in the affair of the kings divorce, and recognized the importance of having an heir to the throne. There are many physical differences between Wolves and Cromwell. Wolves is “Old. A big decayed body in scarlet” (xx), whereas Cromwell is in his late thirties, and dressed in black.
Beyond the physical, the name of effective action” (xx), while Wolves is ambitious and intelligent, although his character is not well-developed before his death early in the play due to pulmonary pneumonia. His death serves as a warning for anyone else that did not follow the wishes of the king, and foreshadows the eventual death of Thomas More. Both Cromwell and Wolves try their best to complete what the King wants. “When the inning wants something done, [Cromwell] does it. ” (21). Cromwell doesn’t stop to question the kings desires, nor does he try to compromise with those who are against the King.
He wished to gain power through the affairs of the king despite the immoral consequences. Wolves tries to find alternate paths to the same outcome for the king, he looks at all aspects of the situation before drawing a conclusion. His wisdom is shown when he tells More that “Letting [King Henry] without an heir and we’ll have them back again. Let him die without an heir and this ‘peace’ you think so much of will go out like that! (12) Wolves takes other’s opinions into account whereas Cromwell only cares for the result that will make himself look best.
Wolves failed to obtain the Pope’s dispersion, and therefore did not succeed in fulfilling the Kings wishes for divorce, while Cromwell devised many plans that led to the achievement of the divorce through force. Compare and contrast Lady Alice and Lady Margaret. Alice and Margaret are the ones closest to Thomas More. Both women are intelligent and righteous. This is shown when they agree that Rich was to be arrested when it became apparent that he had betrayed More. Alice is Mere’s wife, an understanding and caring woman that trusts in More beyond simple reasoning.
She understands that he values morality over his life,and she feels that “[More] the best man that [she] ever met. ” (86) Alice is sad to see her loved one go, but accepts his final resolution and painfully comes to terms with his decision. Unlike her stepmother, Margaret does not understand his reasons for sacrificing his life. “Meg [is] under oath to persuade [More]” (83) to choose life over morality. Alice is an impressive woman in her forties with an incredible ability to understand and worship her husband” (xx) as well as society, leading to trouble and defiance towards both.
Margaret is a beautiful girl in her twenties with a naivety that is fostered by the care of her father. Both Alice and Margaret possess a unconditional love and care for Thomas More that they act upon in many occasions in the play. For instance, they repeatedly asked him about his conversations with Cardinal Wolves. Also, they prepared a feast for the King’s visit on his behalf. Although More is evasive and silent on his affairs, they think nothing but good of him, and support him to the end.

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