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A Man for All Seasons

“A Man for All Seasons” was a play written by Robert Bolt. The play was first displayed on stages in London, England on July 1, 1960. The first performances of the play were for BBC Radio and one hour television special on BBC broadcast in 1957. After the radio and television presentation of “A Man for All Seasons”, Mr. Bolt decided that he needed to revamp and re-write the play, so that it could be presented in stage play form. Mr. Bolt’s play made it to the New York stage, Broadway, a few years after making its debut on the English stage play around 1964. It was even made into a feature movie and received an Academy Award for best picture in 1966 and it was made into a TV movie in 1988.

The plot of the story is centered on England during the reign of King Henry VIII, and main characters of the play are King Henry VIII and Sir Thomas Moore. Sir Thomas Moore, was England’s Chancellor, who did not support King Henry VIII who wanted to divorce his first wife, Queen Catherine, who was from Aragon. The reason why King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his first wife, Queen Catherine, is because she did not bear him an heir to the throne a son. King Henry VIII needed permission to divorce Queen Catherine from the royal court to be able to marry Anne Boleyn who was one of the Queen’s handmaidens. Anne Boleyn was also the sister of one of the King’s mistresses. In the play, Sir Moore is portrayed as the principle of moral for the King and his royal court. Sir Thomas Moore is loved and admired by the royal court and his family. But, King Henry VIII does not like him because he will not support his decision to divorce his current wife to marry Anne Boleyn.

The story of “A Man of All Seasons” deals with the man’s struggle with the concepts of conscience and identity. The central theme of the play is when Sir Thomas Moore is put on trial for his failure to agree with the King’s bid to divorce his wife, Queen Catherine, which would allow him to marry Anne Boleyn. The ironic thing about the story is that King Henry VIII switch his religion from being a Roman Catholic to a Protestant which give him permission to divorce his first wife, Queen Catherine, and marry Anne Boleyn.

King Henry VIII did marry Anne Boleyn, who failed to bear him a son and he had Anne Boleyn beheaded for adultery and treason. Both Queen Catherine and Queen Anne bore King Henry VIII heirs who would become rulers of the England. Queen Mary, who was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine, and during her reign persecuted many Protestants because that was the religion of her father who had embarrassed her mother by divorcing her. Queen Elizabeth, who was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Queen Anne, would rule England for at least fifty years and made great advancements during her reign as Queen.

“A Man of All Seasons” demonstrates how money and power can destroy many individuals. Also, it demonstrates how individuals will use money and power to get what they want at any cost including killing an innocent person like Sir Thomas Moore. Sir Thomas Moore at the end of the play was killed because of false accusations made by scrupulous individuals.

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