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Extra resources for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt

Example text

More says they must study the words of the oath. He explains to Margaret and Roper that one must escape if possible, but if God brought on~ -to the extremity of no escape, then He must delight in the splendour that Man can show. Commentary As in the last change of scene, the Common Man is not used to make the transition, but this time he is conspicuous by his absence, because, previously, when More had called for a boat, he had appeared as the Boatman . Now More is so isolated. and such a dangerous person to know, that not even a boatman will come to take him home.

The best part of man, his 'self or 'soul' (as More later calls it) , aspires towards the angels; the grosser part of man, which serves his appetites, is nearer the animals. This is why More feels Norfolk up and down like an animal when he is searching for that 'single sinew in the midst of this that serves no appetite of Norfolk's but is, just, Norfolk '. He is searching for Norfolk's 'self or 'soul' . In this speech More suggests that Man's distinctive way to serve God is to use his reason and intellect to try to sort out the complexities of his life on earth, but, at the same time, keep his 'self intact: otherwise he is nothing.

He accuses More of having written or instigated the King's book A Defence of the Seven Sacraments, published in May, 1521, which sets out and defends the Pope's authority (which, of course, the King now denies). More retorts that this charge is 'trivial' because, under oath, the King would never perjure himself by denying his part in the book. Cromwell then asks More if he has anything further to say on the King's marriage to Queen Anne. More replies that he had under stood he was not to be asked again, and says these are 'terrors for children'.

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