A Man For All Seasons

[A Man for All Seasons]
Methuen Drama
Year of publication: 
Moral assessment: 
Type: Literature
Nothing inappropriate.
Some morally inappropriate content.
Contains significant sections contrary to faith or morals.
Contains some lurid passages, or presents a general ideological framework that could confuse those without much Christian formation.
Contains several lurid passages, or presents an ideological framework that is contrary or foreign to Christian values.
Explicitly contradicts Catholic faith or morals, or is directed against the Church and its institutions.
Literary quality: 
Transmits values: 
Sexual content: 
Violent content: 
Vulgar or obscene language: 
Ideas that contradict Church teaching: 
The rating of the different categories comes from the opinion of Delibris' collaborators

While King Henry VIII maintained that there were no definitions for marriage, his Chancellor Sir Thomas More declared than no human law could change the institution. With the inevitable conflict of minds, Robert Bolt’s play is a study of character. Although not a Catholic himself, Bolt paints a picture in Thomas More of a saintly, principled man who defends himself by the law and not by religious sentiment. Yet he is not averse to standing up for his religion when the king wants not only to divorce his wife but also to overthrow the authority of the Catholic Church. Robert Bolt found great success in this play which came to the West End in 1957 before being turned into a successful film in 1966. He was born in Manchester in 1924 and his career meandered around insurance, serving in the Royal Air Force, school teaching and then being a playwright.

In his foreword, Robert Bolt asks the question, ‘Why do I take as a hero a man who brings about his own death because he can't put his hand on an old black book and tell an ordinary lie?’ His answer is that he wishes to invite his audience to question themselves about their own motivations and allegiances. Here, Sir Thomas More, born in 1478 and died in 1535, is a man of integrity who deserves our admiration. Whether as a play or film, the story is best seen rather than read. But any subsequent reading after watching a performance is especially enjoyable.

Author: Cliff Cobb, United Kingdom
Update on: Apr 2023