Free Moral Fortitude in "A Man for All Seasons" Essay Sample
This is a movie which is based on the story of Sir Thomas More who was England's Chancellor in the 16th Century. He refused to yield to King Henry VIII's pressure for him to endorse his wish to divorce his wife for the reason that he could not bear him a son. The play which directed by Robert Bolt, depicts More as a man sticks to his conscience at all times. The main theme of this play centers on the ideas of identity and conscience. It shows that a person is defined in by his conscience. He is depicted as a person who never allows pressure or any influence to affect his conscience. This is seen clearly when he refused to allow the influence of the king, who wishes to divorce his wife, to affect his conscience. The play gives a contemporary situation of the governments. It also shows how people are ill bend to use their influence in government positions to have their wishes done. The other situation which portrays More as a man of his own conscience is when he testifies in an inquiry committee and Norfolk persuades him to sign the Act of Succession.
At this point More makes his associates look as fellows who just want to hold on their temporal power. In another incident Chapuys pushes More to speak negatively against the King just after he resigned from the Chancellorship. More still portrays his calmness and conscience and does not speak out badly about the king. Cromwell who wants to please the king prosecuted more out personal spite since he could not have anything against him. he bases his claims on the fact that he had refused to listen to the king when he wanted to divorce his wife. Bolt in the play portrays the people in power as being corrupt and as people who can do anything to keep themselves politically correct. The issue of corruption in the play is portrayed by Richard Rich who often practices perjury. Rich's rise to power also portrays corruption since makes people believe tat Henry was a young man to raise to power yet he was in his forties.
More, being the chancellor was a very powerful person in the power set up. He had the powers to authorize things like divorce cases as was with the case of the king. The play shows that the powers vested on this position are quite enormous and that is why there seems to be power struggle. Characters such as Cromwell, Norfolk wants him out of this position so that they can have someone who can be easily manipulated for their personal benefits.
Humanities as a study of human behavior can be related to this movie where we see many characters as selfish fellows who will not stop until their personal interests are taken into account. We see different characters with different social orientation. There those who compromise their conscience to attain personal gains. They are described by Bolt as 'moving with the current' and they are, 'men who know what the world is and how to be comfortable in it'.
The play "A Man for All Seasons" not only encapsulates Sir Thomas More's moral fortitude but also delves into the intricate web of relationships and motives that shape the political landscape. As we dissect the narrative further, nuances emerge that underscore the depth of the characters and the societal context. One noteworthy aspect is the subtle critique of religious and legal institutions woven into the play. More's staunch adherence to his conscience is not only a personal conviction but a reflection of the clash between religious principles and political maneuvering. The tension between ecclesiastical authority and temporal power adds layers of complexity to More's moral stand.
Additionally, the character of Thomas Cromwell serves as a multifaceted antagonist. Beyond personal spite, his motives are driven by a vision of a state unencumbered by moral constraints. This ideological clash between More and Cromwell sheds light on the broader philosophical debates of the time, mirroring the larger conflict between traditional values and the emerging pragmatism of the Renaissance era. The play's exploration of Richard Rich's character takes a deeper dive into the theme of corruption. Rich's perjury and ascent to power symbolize the Faustian bargain many make in the pursuit of influence. His character becomes a microcosm of the moral compromises prevalent in a society grappling with political upheaval and changing norms.
Moreover, the symbolic use of the Common Man in the play adds a layer of universality. This character, who seamlessly transitions between roles, represents the ordinary individual caught in the currents of political change. It serves as a narrative device to connect the audience with the broader implications of More's choices and the societal shifts occurring during that tumultuous period. Bolt's skillful use of language and dialogue deserves mention. The play's dialogue not only advances the plot but also serves as a vehicle for philosophical discourse. The verbal sparring between characters becomes a battleground for ideas, with each line laden with ideological significance. Bolt's craftsmanship elevates the play beyond a historical drama to a timeless exploration of ethical dilemmas.
In essence, "A Man for All Seasons" emerges as a tapestry of historical drama, moral introspection, and philosophical discourse. Its enduring relevance lies in its ability to unravel the complexities of human nature, the interplay of power dynamics, and the perennial struggle between conscience and expediency.