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Extra resources for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt

Sample text

Cromwell's repetition of 'seriously' (Not sinister, but rather as a kindly teacher with a promising pupil) makes him all that more sinister, dangerous and devilish. : he is quite consciously selling his 'soul' or 'self. ) But Rich has just the faintest doubts, expressed in his : 'There are some things one wouldn't do for anything. ) And when Cromwell asks if he is sure he is not religious, his answer 'Almost sure' also expresses his doubt. Unlike Cromwell, Rich is not amoral; he knows he is doing wrong .

Man was the crucial link between heaven and earth, between the angels and the animals. 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.

Both men are screwing themselves up to destroy a man whom they know to be innocent. All the worst characteristics come out in both of them, and the sadistic act of holding Rich's hand in the candle flame, amazes even Cromwell himself, as the stage direction shows. But this act of cruelty at the end of the first Act, gives the audience a foretaste of what is to come. Act 2, Prologue Summary The Common Man explains that the time has moved on from 1530 to May, 1532, and in the intervening years the Church of England had been established by an Act of Parliament.

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