A Man for All Seasons: a Play in Two Acts

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt well demonstrated the motif of personal growth versus moral standards. The play insinuates that most men allow their lust for personal growth affect their integrity towards others. The general idea of personal growth contradicting moral standards is developed through the actions of Cromwell, Richard Rich, and King Henry VIII. Thomas Cromwell’s actions throughout the play demonstrate his lust for personal gain.

  • He explains how politics makes life easier for the royals.
  • Tells Rich that having power is “convenient”.
  • Infers that politics is key to success.
  • Also suggests that Cromwell wants to gain more political power.
  • This part of the play explores the personal objectives of Cromwell and Richard and how they contradict moral standards.
  • Quote shows Cromwell’s awareness of the negative impact of greed.
  • Cromwell infers to the inability to want personal growth while considering moral values.
  • He tells Rich that he lost his innocence long before this time.

This suggests that despite being aware of the negative impact of his greedy actions, Cromwell still has complete disregard for others. “it can’t have been very important to you” means that retaining innocence (or moral standards) is insignificant in Cromwell’s master plan. In this section of the play, Cromwell shows that he is aware of his lack of moral values, however, he does not let this affect the development of his. As the play develops, the moral standards of Richard Rich start to disappear due to his lust for personal gain. Quote is Rich responding to More’s suggestion that he become a teacher (instead of a politician). More outlines the dangers of political office (bribes). It was previously inferred that Rich would take bribes in office (he accepts the chalice from More). It is clear that Rich has a lust for power, which is a form of personal growth “meaning who would care if he was a teacher as opposed to a political leader of any capacity. Infers that political power is a key component to Rich’s personal goals. More notices Rich’s irresponsible behavior when rich accepts the chalice, so he suggests he goes into teaching rather than into politics. This part of the play starts to develop Rich’s disregard for moral standards. Quote has Rich supposedly paraphrasing the treasonous words of More. Rich testifies against More to become attorney general for Whales. Cromwell bribes Rich with the attorney general position if he falsely testifies against More. This achieves Rich’s personal goal of gaining political office. Cromwell uses Rich’s testament to charge More with treason. Despite the guidance that Rich received from More, he ruins More’s life to benefit himself. This part of the play shows the extent of Rich’s disregard for moral standard and interest in personal gain. Despite King Henry VIII gaining monarch status with doing minimal work, his actions and constantly changing opinions show that his only concerns are self-preservation and personal gain.Quote has King Henry VIII proclaiming his high regard by the people of England (speaking to More).

More only follows Henry because it’s his legal obligation. He also disapproves of Henry’s divorce request. Henry needs to convince More to support him. More has to go against the King.Henry tries to persuade More into following him by metaphorically saying ‘everyone else follows me, except for you. Henry is disregarding moral values by trying to persuade. He is doing this solely so that he can remarry and have a legitimate child. Considered an action for both personal gain and self-preservation.Through the deconstruction of this quote, it proves that Henry’s desired action result in personal gain. It also suggests the way that he intends to have this personal gain is through a disregard for moral standards. Quote shows the King lashing out against. King visits More and brings up his divorce request. More cannot agree with the divorce because of his religious beliefs.Despite being scrutinized by Henry, he disapproves of his divorce.Henry either wants more to support him or be executed. If More supports Henry’s divorce, Henry will look good in the eyes of the people because More has a good reputation and is well known. If More disagrees with Henry’s divorce (which he does), it will make Henry look bad. Henry abuses his power in this part of the play by using strong word choices to try and persuade More to approve of his divorce. This is an immoral act because Henry is trying to contradict More’s religious beliefs through an abuse of power.


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