Corruption in the Play “a Man for All Seasons” Essay

1731 Words Jan 28th, 2012 7 Pages
Corruption in the play “A Man For All Seasons”

The main plot in the play “A Man For All Seasons” by Robert Bolt is corruption, more specifically political corruption. While the play focuses heavily on the social demise, and moral strength of the character Thomas More. It also covers the inverse process with other characters, such as; Richard Rich, Thomas Cromwell, and the king of England Henry VIII. In the play Thomas More stands as a beacon of selfhood and virtue, while the other three men used manipulation and disloyalty, to gain wealth and power, no matter what the consequences may be. The character Richard Rich did not start out corrupt in the beginning of the play, but became corrupt with prospect of becoming wealthy and
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Throughout the play he bought and sold loyalty from anyone he can, mainly Richard Rich. He was like the puppeteer for Rich, pulling Rich’s strings, for the King’s benefit. He offered the post of York position to Rich, not because he was right for the position, nor because he deserves it, but because he wanted information on More from Rich, whether it was the truth or not. When Rich was kind of reluctant to supply him with half truths about More, he continued to convince him that it is not as hard as it seems, telling Rich that “You’ll find it easier next time’ (Bolt 74). That statement was an indication that there will be more lies Rich will have to tell about More, so they could get what they want to make the King happy. What was so scary about Cromwell’s character is that he has no personal values to defend; he is just being a loyal servant to the King. He takes on the Kings values as his own, so being a corrupt person comes quite easily to him. However, Cromwell’s loyalty to the King also has a price, he was able to gain the King’s appreciation, and in turn will also be able to rise further in the ranks of the administration. Even though he is a powerful man already, becoming more powerful will be even better. When Cromwell realizes that it will not be an easy task convincing More to change he stands on the divorce, he started abusing his power by manipulating the government rules. In a conversation with Rich, when they both notice that it will be difficult to

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