Everyone in A Man For All Seasons is pursuing the
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"Everyone in A Man For All Seasons is pursuing their own ends. What makes More different?"
Often, it is impossible to reach our goals without resorting to some sort of pragmatism. In A Man For All Seasons every character has their own ends to meet, and the only distinguishable feature between them is how they go about it. Some characters disregard all sense of morality as they plunge into a approach which primarily encompasses self-interest. In all, most of the characters in the play personify selfishness in one way or another. Of course there are some whose selfishness is more noticeable than others, however at some point they are all deficient in their consideration of others and live chiefly for personal profit. All, except for one. Sir Thomas More is a man who subconsciously is a slave to his conscience. He executes selfless acts in order to do what he knows is legal, and what he thinks is right. He is one of very few people who have died with their integrity intact. He is a special man, who is steadfast in upholding his principles, even when death breathes down his neck. Sir Thomas More truly is a paragon.
One character in the play particularly concerned with his goals, regardless of the path he must take to reach them is Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is the personification of pragmatism and is willing to do anything, providing the end sees him satisfied. "…our job as administrators is to make it as convenient as we can," Cromwell states in reference to the King’s divorce and the pursuit of More’s support. He is "…the King’s ear," and is thus responsible for all the menial tasks which the King would otherwise have to perform, including seeing to it that Sir Thomas More either agrees to give the King his support or is punished. One of these duties is to spy on others for the King’s benefit. One instance of this is on the night More goes to visit cardinal Wolsey, Cromwell ‘magically’ appears as More is on his way home. He asks of More, "You left him…in his laughing mood, I hope?" This was Cromwell’s method of establishing whether the divorce had been discussed between More and the Cardinal that evening. For if it was, there was no way the Cardinal could be in any sort of "…laughing mood." One thing Cromwell fails to realise is that by doing his job for the King and arranging More’s death, he, "…plants my own." In order to reach his goal of receiving flattery and credit for the King’s business he is scheming and brutal and boldly proclaims, "When the King wants something done, I do it." He is completely amoral by the end of the play and is not seen to possess many human characteristics, especially that of empathy and sensitivity towards other human beings.
Another skill which Cromwell possesses is that of being able to easily sense the weaknesses of others. He can clearly see that More is facing a huge problem with the technicalities of the divorce. He knows that, "The trouble is, his innocence is tangled in the proposition that you can’t change your woman….unless the Pope says so." He continuously endeavours to find out how easily More can be manipulated, by manipulating Rich. Cromwell questions rich about the details of a court case More was once was involved in to confirm the allegation that More took a bribe.
In essence, the perpetrator of More’s downfall is the king himself. Not even More can understand why the king is so insistent on having More’s support with regard to his divorce from Queen Catherine. However, the King claims that it is because More is, "…known to be honest." He is certain that More would not give his approval of the divorce and subsequent marriage unless he was sincere. The King deduces this from the fact that More stands out as the only supporter of the King with genuine reasons for doing so. Henry believes that, "There are those…who follow me because I wear the crown…and there is a mass that…follows anything that moves…- and there is you." This statement alludes to More’s ‘special’ qualities which make him such a unique man.
Primarily, Henry does not possess an immoral or
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British films, English-language films, Cromwell family, Roundheads, Thomas Cromwell, Oliver Cromwell, A Man for All Seasons, Cromwell, Gregory Cromwell, 1st Baron Cromwell, Elizabeth Cromwell
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