"A Man for All Seasons"



Common Attitude



"I'm breathing. Are you breathing too? It's nice, isn't it. It isn't difficult to keep alive, friends—just don't make trouble—or if you make trouble, make the sort of trouble that's expected. Well, I don't need to tell you that. Good night: If we should bump into one another, recognize me." (p. 94-95) The common man's words are true not only to the time of Thomas More, but as well throughout history. Many in the world today follow the same philosophy that the common man states at the end of the play. Most people would rather avoid the troubles caused by being an individual. However, there are a few, such as Thomas More, who follow their conscience, who are willing to take on the extra stresses that come with being one's own person.
The statement made by the common man, although practiced by many in the world today, is the wrong way to think. The man says to survive in the world one must leave behind their morals, and to forget their conscience. While this may lead to temporary happiness in life, it may lead to eternal punishment after death. In the modern world, this philosophy is still the best way to go for some. Today, another teen-ager is abusing an illegal drug because "everyone else is doing it." If the teen does the drug, then his personal life will be better because he has gained more friends. Even though he knows that it is illegal and thus, morally wrong, he takes the easiest route, and "goes with the flow."
Thomas More is an extraordinary man, because instead of giving in to the pressures of the King of England and even the entire country, he followed his conscience. Thomas is damned on earth due to his faith, but for following his conscience, and doing what he truly believed to be right, he will have eternal happiness in the afterlife. If only everyone realized this, and had the smallest concept of what eternity close to God meant, then they would suffer the hardships on earth, and stand firm in their beliefs.
The common man asks to be "recognized." A definition of "recognize" is "to acknowledge". In saying "recognize me," the common man may be asking for one to take note and remember what he has said. The statement made is an important one, and in saying "recognize me," he makes sure that his point has gotten into the mind of the listener (or reader).