Is The Cause Of Social Change In Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons?

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Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons” portrays the lives of people in the 16th Century, which was characterized and influenced by unprecedented social changes. Revolution was practically in every aspect of life, including economy, politics, and religion. In fact, the begining of religious reform was associated with social and political changes. The society depicted in Bolt’s play is ruled by King Henry VIII who, in order to be able to legally divorce his wife, Queen Catherine, wishes to remove himself from the Roman Catholic Church and establish himself as the head of the Church of England through the Act of Supremacy. However, for Sir Thomas More who is a man of high integrity andstrong religious faith, King Henry VIII’s wishes are directly …show more content…
In the beginning of the play, Rich is friendly towards More and considers himself and More’s friends. However, after Rich begins to rise in social ranking, he becomes greedy and seeks to become more powerful and wealthy. When Rich speaks to Cromwell after More is appointed as Lord Chancellor, he shows his first sign of disloyalty towards Thomas More. When Cromwell brings up Rich’s friendship with More, Rich replies, “He isn’t really my friend” (37). Rich is aware that Cromwell is a powerful figure and dislikes Thomas More. Therefore, Rich disregards his frienship with More in an attempt to please Cromwell and possibly increase his power and role in society. Later when More is on trial, Rich lies and provides false accusations against More. After Rich lies, More tells Rich, “I am sorrier for your perjury than my peril” (156). Rich betrays More by lying in order to win his case and prove More guilty, which subsequently increases Rich’s power. By the end of the trial when More is ruled guilty, More notices a medallion on Rich’s shirt. When More learns that Richard has been appointed Attorney-General for Wales, he painfully tells Richard that “it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world...But for Wales!” (158). More finally realizes that the motivation behind Rich’s betrayal is his greed for power and wealth. Richard Rich’s ambition for wealth and …show more content…
As a servant for Thomas More, Matthew is a member of the lower class with common moral values. To Matthew, money is important for his survival because he is a poor member of the lower class. Matthew’s need for money leads him to easily be bribed which consequently leads him to betray More. After More is appointed Chancellor, Cromwell gains information on More by bribing Matthew with money. Matthew provides Cromwell with information on More’s weaknesses, stating that More is “worried, sir...Frightened” (40). After Cromwell learns this information, Matthew receives a coin as bribery for information about his master. Later that day, Chapuys bribes Matthew with a coin for more information on More and More’s strong religious beliefs. When Chapuys receives the information he wants, he gives Matthew a coin in exchange for the information. Afterwards, Matthew states, “What I can tell them’s common knowledge! But now they’ve given money for it...and that’s more than I earn in a fortnight!” (43). Matthew knowingly reveals information on his master in exchange for money because money is critical to his survival. Later, when Moreis about to lose his post, he asks if Matthew would accept a smaller wage. Matthew replies, “Don’t see how I could then, sir” (97). Matthew is betraying More by leaving him because he shows that money is more important to him and his survival than his loyalty to

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