By Leonard Smith (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt
The satire is emphasised by the twelve folding stools made to represent the jury, with the 'hats' worn by the Common Man placed over them. Cromwell adds to the mock-heroic tone with his rhyming couplets. His role in this transition is purposely out of character. He shows himself to be another 'Common Man' who can stand aside and comment on the action . But he is an intelligent 'common man' who uses other common men for his own purposes. (Notice, later in this scene, that it is Cromwell who removes the Common Man's prop basket from the stage.
Cromwell, realising that More has covered himself, turns to his third 'charge'. He accuses More of having written or instigated the King's book A Defence of the Seven Sacraments, published in May, 1521, which sets out and defends the Pope's authority (which, of course, the King now denies). More retorts that this charge is 'trivial' because, under oath, the King would never perjure himself by denying his part in the book. Cromwell then asks More if he has anything further to say on the King's marriage to Queen Anne.
This speeds up More's destruction, giving neither More, nor the audience, breathing space. Cromwell's polite comments are completely hypocritical. He thinks that he has More in his power so he reveals Rich who records the conversation. More's comment to Rich that they were 'old friends' takes us back to the very first scene in the play, where Rich had asked if he could be More's 'friend'. He had also said he wanted a gown like More's; but More's comment in this scene about Rich's 'nice gown' should be made without any bitterness or sarcasm.
A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt by Leonard Smith (auth.)