Sir Thomas More is tested to the extreme as he remains true to his conscience.
Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. This film presents a limited and uncritical view of Sir Thomas More. Because of its inaccuracies and omissions, the film has been strongly criticized by Richard Marius, author of a respected biography of More.
Several years ago, based on Marius' criticisms, we declined to prepare a Learning Guide for this film. However, many people disagreed with us and felt that the story of a man who gave up everything for a principle could serve as a valuable teaching tool.
In addition, we are informed that the film is widely used for this purpose by teachers in England.
After reading several biographies of More and much reflection, we agree with both the proponents and the critics of this film. As a result of its historical inaccuracies "A Man for All Seasons" is not a film to simply show or recommend with the implication that "this is the way it was.
However, the film can become a useful teaching tool if some of the inaccuracies and omissions are brought out and discussed. In addition, the real Thomas More was one of the most interesting and, with the exception of his persecution of heretics, one of the most admirable men who ever lived.
Educated people should know of his career, his literary works, and his martyrdom. For a brief description of the more egregious historical inaccuracies in this film see Some of the Substantial Historical Inaccuracies of this Film.
Then focus on the following three points. He was a giant of the Renaissance, having written Utopia, one of its most influential books. In addition, More was an excellent lawyer, a wise judge, an able administrator, a peacemaker, a caring father, a loyal friend, a dutiful and loving son, and a man of charity who shared his wealth with the less fortunate.
His only major failing was that he was also a religious bigot who persecuted heretics and, as a judge, ordered them burned at the stake. Before the reign of Henry VIII, England had been ravaged by civil war as two great aristocratic houses fought for the throne.
These were called the "Wars of the Roses". If King Henry didn't have a legitimate male heir, there was a great risk that the country would again be plunged into civil war.
Almost every Englishman wanted to avoid this. Catherine had not given Henry a son. The vast majority supported annulment of the king's marriage and the break with Rome as the best way to prevent civil war. See Helpful Background section relating to this point. The analysis of this film is fairly academic.
Parents who want to enhance a child's experience in watching the movie will be best prepared if they review the Helpful Background and the Discussion Questions including the suggested answers.
Selected Awards, Cast and Director: Best Supporting Actor Shaw. Divorce was not permitted by the Catholic Church. The only way the King could get himself a new wife without being excommunicated by the Pope was to obtain an annulment of his marriage.
The annulment of the marriage of a king had to be approved by the Pope. Charles V was also Catherine's nephew and he opposed the annulment.
The Pope refused Henry's request for an annulment of the marriage. In chess they call that checkmate. Henry decided to change the rules of the game by severing England's association with the Catholic Church, establishing a new Church of England, and making himself the head of that Church.
Since he appointed the highest clerical official, the Archbishop of Canterbury, he made sure that he appointed someone who would support the annulment of his marriage to Catherine. However, when he tired of Anne Boleyn, he had another problem.
Another annulment risked losing the support of the English people.A Man for All Seasons focuses on the rise of Richard Rich as much as it follows the fall of Sir Thomas More.
As More’s steadfast selfhood earns him a spot on the chopping block, Rich acquires more and more wealth and greater status by selling out his friend and his own moral principles.
Values and Morals in A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt In the play A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt the audience learns about the extraordinary life of Sir Thomas More.
Sir Thomas is faced with a moral dilemma that will determine the outcome of his life. As the playwright Robert Bolt famously declared a generation ago, Thomas More truly is “a man for all seasons.” Much of the continued popular interest in More’s life undoubtedly can be explained by the spectacular events leading up to his death.
A Man For All Seasons: Theme Analysis, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
As the playwright Robert Bolt famously declared a generation ago, Thomas More truly is “a man for all seasons.” Much of the continued popular interest in More’s life undoubtedly can be explained by the spectacular events leading up to his death.
A Man for All Seasons focuses on the rise of Richard Rich as much as it follows the fall of Sir Thomas More. As More’s steadfast selfhood earns him a spot on the chopping block, Rich acquires more and more wealth and greater status by selling out his friend and his own moral principles.