Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on robert bolts a man for all seasons. “Do you favor a change of dynasty” (12), implying that the social consequences of not granting the king’s divorce will lead to an eventual war over the succession. He recognizes that More would gladly “govern the country by prayers” (13), suggesting that More’s idealism is stupid and flies in the face of logic.
The king approaches More with flattery, treating him with honor and calling him his friend. Then, having buttered More up, Henry tries to persuade him through religious argument, quoting, “Leviticus: ‘Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of their brother’s wife.’ Leviticus, Chapter eighteen, Verse sixteen” (31), and saying of his first marriage, “it was a sin, Thomas, I admit it. I repent. And God has punished me. I have no son” (31). After appealing to More’s piety, the king switches tactics, stroking his ego with more complements: More is “known to be honest” (31) and the king respects his sincerity. At last, he woos More with the offer of a king’s regard, saying, “If you could come with me, you are the man I would soonest raise-yes, with my own hand” (33).
When Richard Rich visits More, he has come to move More with paranoia, warning him, “Cromwell is asking questions. About you. About you particularly. He is continually collecting information about you!” (36). A pragmatist whose reading of Machiavelli has made him dangerous and successful, Rich has a guilty conscience. His last appeal is almost a cry for More to save him from his own practicality. When he begs, “Employ me” (37) he is asking More relieve him of the burden of all the terrible things he knows he will otherwise take part in.
In the middle of the play, Norfolk tries to tempt More with his own honor. He claims, “from where I stand, this looks like cowardice” (52) and “you’ll forfeit all you’ve got-which includes the respect of your country (53). Later, knowing that More is to soon be incarcerated, he appeals to his friendship. “What about your friends” (70) Norfolk asks, and explains, “Goddammit, you’re dangerous to know” (70) and “You’ll break my heart” (70). At the trial, he begs More to appease the king, dangling before him the promise of “his gracious pardon” (86).
Margaret supports More up to the point that she fears he will be permanently taken from her. When she visits him in prison, Margaret uses the logic “God more regards the thoughts of the heart than the words of the mouth” (81) to persuade him to save his own life. When this does not work, she resorts to pity, revealing, “We sit in the dark because we’ve no candles. And we’ve no talk because we’re wondering what they’re doing to you here” (82). She offers him a picture of their broken family and suggests how easily he could restore it to a state of wholeness.
Alice worries about More’s principles when they result in his fall from grace. When he resigns his post, she asks, “Is this wisdom-to betray your ability, abandon the practice, forget your station and your duty to kin and behave like a printed book” (52) She wants to show him that he will be forsaking everything else he believes in for a single principle. She understands that More cannot walk away.