A Man for All Seasons is the story of a man who knows who he is, expressing courage and faithfulness at all costs. In addition, every character has their own ends to meet, and the only distinguishable feature between them is how they go about it. Some characters disregard all sense of morality as they plunge into an approach, which primarily encompasses self-interest. In all, most of the characters in the movie personify selfishness in one way or another.
Of course there are some whose selfishness is more noticeable than others; however, at some point they are all deficient in their consideration of others and live chiefly for personal profit. All except for one, Sir Thomas More he is a man who subconsciously is a slave to his own conscience. He executes selfless acts in order to do what he knows is legal, and what he thinks is right. He is one of very few people who have died with their integrity intact. Every other character sold themselves out to the king.
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To be honest, I think I would have sold myself out to the king to, if the consequence was to be beheaded if I did not. That is why I envy Sir Thomas because of his individualism, ethics, and courage he had during his stand against the King. Sir Thomas More was a character who was faced with a number of difficult choices. The major one being, when Henry VIII’s first wife was unable to produce an heir to the throne, he used that as an excuse for the pope to grant him a divorce, so he could marry a new wife. The King is backed by everyone on this request except the highly regarded and religious Sir Thomas More.
When the old Chancellor of England, named More his successor, it became important for Henry to get More’s support, but More could not be swayed. He made his decision to oppose the marriage early on, but even though it was something he did not waver from, he still had trouble with it. More made a very difficult decision in opposing the King and his family, but regardless of the consequences, he felt that he was morally correct and for him to choose any other path would have been impossible for he could not oppose the church and God.
I think Alice’s and his daughter Margaret’s complaints probably had the most impact with More because he cared very deeply about his family and probably would have caved in to the King, if he had he not felt he was correct in his decision and there was no other alternative. Honestly, I think everyone should have moral values of some kind, but I do not know about having such strong morals that a person is willing to give up their life and family to stand for what they believe in. Above all, Thomas More did what he did because his ultimate goal was to be with God.
Consequently, he felt he had to do what God wanted and not what his king wanted him to do. In addition, having an attitude like that did put a damper on his relationship with his wife. I think they loved each other very much, but she did not feel entirely appreciated by him. It was evident that Thomas’s formidable intelligence intimidated her and she felt inferior to him. That was probably common in that day and time because women of that era rarely were educated, whereas the men were. In the end, their love for one another was evident in the scene up in Tower of London.
Both of them getting teary eyed, knowing they will never get to see each other ever again. Even after that scene Thomas felt he was making the right decision because he was able to explain why he made the decision to go against the King. Chiefly, no one supported More’s decision not even his own family, but More’s family did support him. Especially his wife Alice she knew her husband better than any other human being. Therefore, when she finds herself at her limit in comprehending why her husband would take such a stand against the king, it bothers Thomas More.
Mostly because she is his anchor in life and he needs her support, and needs her to understand why he is doing what he is doing. In the end, I think she understands why Thomas did what he did and the human risk of taking a principled stand against power. On the other hand, everyone else decided they were going to support King Henry VIII or be two faced about his moral standards. A great example of this was with the character, Oliver Cromwell, he represented the basic evilness of the film and threaten to have More executed for not acquiescing to the marriage. All he ever did was try and make the king happy.
For instance, he said, “When the King wants something done, I do it”. I think Cromwell said this because he did not want his head to be cut off; therefore, all he did was kiss up to the king. In the end, it did not help him because he was tried and found guilty of treason. One character that did not get tried for treason was Richard Rich. He was one of the characters that betrayed Sir Thomas More. Throughout the film it was obvious to the viewer Richard Rich only cared about himself. By far, his worse act of selfishness was when he lied and sold out Thomas More for he could become Attorney General of Wales.
As a result, I think Rich was a piece of scum for doing such acts of treachery to an old friend. I also believe Thomas More thought so because he said, “Richard, it profits a man nothing to trade his soul for the whole world, but for Wales”. I thought that was a tremendous slap in the face to Richard. Another character that betrayed Thomas More after being his friend was the Duke of Norfolk, he foolishly badgered More to relent and join the King’s supporters. Obviously he did not realizing the depth of More’s integrity.
Consequently, Norfolk conducted the trial for High Treason against his former friend, never aware that More had eased his passage from trusted friend to state enemy by purposely offending him. Above all, that is why I envy Sir Thomas More because of his individualism, ethics, and courage he had throughout his stand against King Henry VIII. It would have been hard for a person to purposely make an enemy out of a good friend. Even when you know it is for their own good. I do not think it would be possible for me to do that, which is why I envy Thomas. Aside from envying him I did not agree with what he did.
In my eyes, putting his morals before his family was wrong of him. There had to have been other ways to voice your opinion back in that era without losing your head. I feel Sir Thomas More caused great suffering to his family that was unnecessary. In conclusion, I think you made us watch the movie for that particular reason. To show us how diverse each person’s attitude is towards their higher power. Now days in America, people are permitted to voice their opinion, and we take it for granted not realizing what a privilege it is to be able to speak out with no consequences.