Sir Thomas More Essay, Research Paper
In life, belief can be a very powerful thing, powerful enough to affect major choices. Believing is having faith in an idea, person, thing or religion. In Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More made many important choices the were affected by a belief in the religious theory that the Pope is the “Vicar of God” (the descendant of St. Peter, and our only link to Christ.) Throughout Mores entire life he chose to be loyal this belief, even thought it cost him his life in 1535. More chose to go against the King’s divorce of Catherine, and marry of Anne. He chose to not sign to oath for the act of Succession, and towards the end of the play More was put to the ultimate test in faith, choose to go against his belief or be executed.
Sir Thomas More chose always to be against the King divorce to Catherine of Aragon. He shows this when Cardinal Woolsey summons him to attend a matter concerning the “Kings business”. In their meeting the topic of the Kings re-marriage is what the Cardinal wanted to talk to More about, When Woolsey says “…that thing out there is at least fertile, Thomas”. More shows that he is against the divorce by saying “But she’s not his wife”. More again shows his beliefs that a dispensation was given so that Henry could marry Catherine and Thomas knows that the Pope will not give a dispensation on a dispensation. More believes that the Pope should make the decision about the divorce. And More chooses to go against the divorce until the pope is approached.
Thomas More chooses not to sign the oath to the Act of Succession. When Thomas Cromwell asks him if he will sign the oath he refuses, because it’s against his belief. When the Duke of Norfolk says “Thomas, you insult the King and his council in the person of the Lord Archbishop” More simply replies “I insult no one. I will not take the oath. I will not tell you why I will not.” Thomas More had strong beliefs that posed a threat to him if he was not careful with his words. If does not give reasons for not signing the oath he can only be put in jail. More knows the law so well he will try to escape the King and his evil Council’s wrath. More chooses to hide in the “thickets of the law” and chooses to go against the Act of Succession, but doesn’t tell us why until the end of the play.
In the conclusion of the play because Thomas chose to go against Kings divorce, he was put to trial for treason. Sir Thomas More is still given chances to escape death throughout the trial, but chooses not to because of his strong religious beliefs. Cromwell asks “Sir Thomas you stand upon your silence” More answers “I do” to this. Richard Rich is used as convicting evidence against More, and he is found guilty. More realizes that there is nor his wits or wisdom of the law can help him, the court is relentless to condemn him. And when he realizes he will surely die, he gives his reasons why he chose to go against the King’s divorce, the Act of Succession and the Act of Supremacy. Sir Thomas More showed true faith in his beliefs that were just and honest, but unfortunately had to pay with his life because of a volatile, evil and immoral King and council.
Beliefs are extremely powerful in the world and on the choice made. Even if they are good beliefs they can still cause trouble. Sir Thomas More chose not to sign the oath to the Act of Succession or to be “for” the King’s divorce of the Queen. He also chose to die rather than give up faith in his beliefs. The quote “What matters to me is…that I believe it” demonstrates the faith More had in his beliefs in the choices above.