A Man for All Seasons
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A Man for All Seasons

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,825 ratings  ·  239 reviews
The classic play about Sir Thomas More, the Lord chancellor who refused to compromise and was executed by Henry VIII.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 14th 1990 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1960)
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Jonathan

A Man For All Seasons is a play concerned with morality, politics and the common man. It is a play that though written decades ago, holds great wisdom for the individual of today and in its own particular way utilises a known historical event to address particular issues.

The core argument of this play is whether morality and law or religion and law must be separated. Whether it should or should not be is a separate debate to this review, however Robert Bolt's argument appears to be that a man or...more
James M. Madsen, M.D.
This is two gems in one: The play itself is unforgettable, and Bolt's introduction is equally so. As Bolt, explains, why did he, a rationalist who is Christian only in the broadest cultural sense of the term, take as his hero a Catholic saint? The answer is More's simultaneous enthusiasm for life in the here and now with his immovable commitment to an idea and to ideals for which it would be no question in his mind to sacrifice the life that he loved so dearly. Bolt thinks that the key lies in M...more
Claire
I'm not going to lie. After reading this book, I'm a little bit in love with Sir Thomas More.

You can't help it after reading Robert Bolt's play, though. He's so witty and charming and kind and gentle, yet so passionately certain of what is right and wrong and what things are worth dying for. King Henry VIII is such a great character in this play, such an overly-jovial spoiled baby, that More looks even more noble by comparison. (In my head I picture him looking a little bit like Clark Kent. I d...more
حسام عادل
البلد يتهامس,يثرثر,يحكى الحكاية فى الحقول,وحفلات الشاي,وحول المدفأة والعاصفة تزأر بالخارج..
الملك (هنري الثامن) ينوى تطليق زوجته الملكة (كاترين) والزواج بالكونتيس (آن) لتنجب له ولي العهد الذى يحلم به..
الزواج الأول كان غير شرعياً بالطبع باعتبارها - أي كاترين - كانت أرملة أخيه,عاقبه الله وفقاً لتصوره بفقدان الطفل وراء الآخر فى مهدهم أو قبل أن يتموا العام الأول حتى..
الآن قرر الملك أن يطلق زوجته ويتزوج بأخرى لتنجب له طفلاً يبقى ويكبر ليصير ملكاً..
كل هذا جميل..ما المشكلة إذن؟

المشكلة أن هذا ضد المسيحي
...more
Ben Loory
this is a very famous play and i'm not really sure why. thomas more makes an inspiring main character but neither he nor anybody else ever changes and there's not a single surprise or twist in the whole play. just a straight line to martyrdom from page one. it's like one long speech about standing up for principles. it's a well-written speech, but still.
Andrea
As Claire says in her review, I too fell for Sir Thomas More while reading the script and have a lasting fondness for Paul Scofield after seeing his portrayal of More in the 1966 movie. Though I am not Catholic and am not a believer in organized religion and am saddened beyond reason when I think of anyone killing over such an issue, for More to be so clever while being so staunch in his convictions and to stand for his principles -- to argue in fact that it is the principle of standing on his p...more
Mitra
Sep 01, 2008 Mitra rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: play
در پایان کرامول و شاپیس به دو قسمت روشن چپ و راست صحنه وارد می شوند. با دیدن یکدیگر بر جا میمانند به وضعی سرد و دشمنانه.نور کم کم صحنه را روشن می کند.کسی جز این دونفر در صحنه نیست.بعد همزمان با یکدیگر با سرهای افراشته و یک بر به جلو می خرامند و در وسط صحنه از برابر یکدیگر می گذرند.اما همینکه به در خروجی می رسند مکث میکنند پابپا کنان و به ارامی بر میگردند.به حالت تفکر و پرسه زنان به سوی یکدیگر می ایند.کرامول سرش را بالا می گیرد و مبادرت به لبخندی می کند.شاپیس پاسخش را می دهد.بازو در بازوی هم می ا...more
Mari
Jul 18, 2007 Mari rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: dear-friends
Well written and thoughtful. With a unique perspective as a non-Catholic, Bolt shows the beautiful rationality of Sir Thomas More's decisions that lead to his death at the hands of English King Henry VIII. The same decision that gained More sainthood in the opinion of the Catholic Church earns him the respect of all rational and principled people through the writing of Bolt.
Walter
When I read this play back in school, I was asked what the meaning of it was by my teacher.

“Some men die in their bed, some lose their head.”

I was keeping with this earned resignation of its protagonist as to the world, but not his beliefs. Yet, it didn’t quite come across at the time.

No matter, the play is still a great read. Bolt doles out true wit without sarcasm or cutting down another person, while also garnished with wisdom.

One great line that I forgot (and which isn’t in the movie)...

Th...more
Andrew Georgiadis
Best. Play. Maybe Ever.

Sir Thomas More was a man of principles inviolable, (view spoiler). He was a family man, a religious man - Saintly, even - and could not be tricked, bullied, or altogether coerced to break an oath he had made in good faith, even at the behest of Henry VIII.

Robert Bolt's introduction to the play enriches the entire experience. We get to understand why More's story was so compelling to him, and what he hoped to achieve w...more
Laura
Magnificent play showing More's life and his trial under Henry VIII's reign.
Leslie
I have seen this movie a couple of times, and loved it--if for nothing else than the actors involved. But what surprised me reading this was how different the play was from the movie. The movie fleshes out the time, place and characters in velvet and brocade, heavy furniture and hautboys. The play, however, is spare and philosophical. I found myself remembering how different the two art forms are: literature and film, playwriting and performance.
Today, we judge a film by how well it honors a wr...more
Alyn Rumbold
One of the great dramatic studies of the nature of personal integrity, I sometimes think that this work is in danger of being forgotten -- and it shouldn't be. One wonders at the degree of corruption in Thomas More's time that he should have been so highly regarded for his honesty -- and how he might have been thought of today. The great quotes of the play ("Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the entire world...but for Wales?" "When you are sent to heaven for doing your c...more
Brittany
Jan 21, 2010 Brittany rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: If you're studying Thomas More or Henry VIII
How I Came To Read This Book: I’m struggling to remember what play block I read this in during my advanced English studies. Is it a comparison to MacBeth or Hamlet? I believe the former, so I’ll stick with that.

The Plot: The play takes a look at the real-life character of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-Century Chancellor of England who refused to let Henry VIII divorce Catherine (for lack of offspring) so he could get together with Anne Boleyn. The story makes More out to be something of a hero, bel...more
Joy H.
Jul 04, 2013 Joy H. marked it as watched-film-only
Added 7/4/13.
A Man for All Seasons (play) by Robert Bolt (first published January 1st 1960)

On 7/4/13 I enjoyed the engrossing 1966 film adaptation of this play (via a Netflix DVD). Wonderful performances!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060665/?...
"The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage."

http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/A-Man-fo...
"When Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) seeks approval from the English aristocra...more
Lea
You always hear about those people who courageously speak openly about their beliefs at the cost of their lives and the others who give up their beliefs to save their lives. Yet, this book brought a new person to light that I have rarely encountered before. It is a man who stands up for his beliefs but will not, in a sense, throw his life away until needed. He is very intellectual and can find loop holes in arguments that no one would have noticed or used. In fact, I think he is one of the smart...more
Ellis
Just finished this. It provides an interesting perspective on the formation of the Anglican Church. Also, interesting is how the Church of England, in its attempt to escape the "oppression" of the Catholic Church in fact instituted its own sort of Inquisition and, as we all know, executed Sir Thomas More for refusing to give up Catholicism (the excuse for execution is that More committed High Treason because not swearing allegiance to the Church of England is the same as not swearing allegiance...more
Etta Mcquade
Reading the play before seeing it at BYU made the whole experience even better and more sobering, if that is possible. One has to admire Thomas More for standing up for what he believed was right, knowing that he would most likely be tried for treason.
John
Jun 05, 2012 John rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
This is a terrific play (terrific in the second act, anyway) set during the time of the whole Henry VIII/Queen Catherine/Anne Boleyn debacle when Henry founded the Church of England with himself as its head in order to get around the Catholic church's refusal to annul his marriage--which he had pretty much forced the church into granting in the first place since he was in fact marrying his brother's widow. The story revolves around Sir Thomas More's refusal to condone the King's actions, a refus...more
Becca
Fascinating book, especially the title and its significance. It is set during the reign of Henry VIII who of course is known for his *ahem* great, personal life, but also for founding the Anglican church. This describes the conflict between him and Thomas More the Lord Chancellor. The philosophy in this book is fascinating. More refuses to give in to pressure and finds "the law" as his refuge. There are some interesting topics that are brought up and that the reader must wrestle with. It's also...more
Kenny
Not only the quintessential stage play, but the Academy Award-winning film starring the great Paul Scoffield as the title character, Sir Thomas Moore. So many great lines, so many remarkable situations, but more than anything, the best example of what characteristics the ultimate man possesses: honor, integrity, self-effacing humor, grit and determination, and, most of all, love of family and country.

Think you can write a play? Given the brilliance of Robert Bolt's body of work (which also incl...more
Rachel
I loved this play. I admired Thomas More for his steadiness, his clarity, and his judgment. I wish I could be so certain of my courage and determination when all the world and my loved ones cry against the path that I have chosen and feel that I must walk.

One of my favorite lines comes in the trial. Norfolk is urging More, again, to simply say that Henry's marriage to Anne is legal, to spare himself pain and death. More answers "For our own deaths, my lord, yours and mine, dare we for shame ente...more
Gale
Keeper of the Nation’s Conscience

Robert Holt’s 1961 drama about a man determined to remain true to his personal moral compass--even at the cost of his life—presents a riveting portrait of moral resolve in mid 16th century England. Former Chancellor to King Henry 8th Sir Thomas More proved a loyal servant of the monarchy—until the King’s obsession with providing a male heir created a crisis which required Church blessing for divorce. Suddenly More finds himself at an impasse: to approve and sig...more
Norton Stone
Sir Thomas More was beheaded, not because the Law failed him, nor because King Henry wanted his marriage to Catherine annulled. His death was about the stand-off between the individual and the bureaucracy of Monarchy, Government and the Church. In a sense it was the stand-off between pragmatism and the absolute. More could be accused of being foolish, he held to his principles, essentially, that in the matter of his conscience and God he should be able to hold his views privately without his sil...more
Paul
On Reading Hilary Mantel's wonderful historical novel "Wolf Hall" reminded me of the play.The Thomas Cromwell characterizations are somehwhat different. Bolts Cromwell is a lawyer trying to climb his was to the top on others backs and shoulders. Mantel's is more fully rounded bringing in his background as a businessman, soldier, lawyer, husband and father. Of course, the play is about More who Cromwell did not like.
Darwin8u
After reading Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring up the Bodies' I felt almost obligated to get another perspective on Thomas More. From a fictional perspective, I felt 'A Man for All Seasons' was the place to go. A beautiful play that examines what it is like to be a man of immovable consience in a corrupt society. Now I've got to go figure out if a fundamentalist angel is still an angel.
Rachel
A clever and interesting stage play, based on an amazing story about the moral convictions and integrity of Sir. Thomas Moore. Would that I could be so uncompromisingly courageous! I remember seeing a movie adapted from the play as a teenager, which I believe was very true to the script, and which I thought was depressing then; I think I would find it ennobling now.
Heidi'sbooks
Summary: Sir Thomas More--the brilliant nobleman, lawyer, humanist, author of such works as Utopia--was a long-time friend and favorite of Henry VIII, ascending to the position of Lord Chancellor in 1529. Yet he was also a staunch Catholic....In 1534 Parliament passed a bill requiring all subjects to take an oath acknowledging the supremacy of England's king over all foreign sovereigns--including the Pope. More refused, was imprisoned, and finally was executed in 1535.

My thoughts: I thought this...more
Laura
I really enjoyed this play, but I'm not sure how accurate it was concerning the portrayal of Sir Thomas More's beliefs. Bolt is admittedly not a Christian, so I think it probable that he wrote More as more of a secular scholar than the Christian that really he was.
Veronica
This is one of the most moving, inspiring, uplifting, and depressing plays I've ever read. Bolt's portrayal of More's integrity is amazing. And unlike most prefatory material, Bolt's explanation of why he decided to write the play is worth reading.
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130766
From IMDB.com:

Son of a small shopkeeper, he attended Manchester Grammar School. He later said that he made poor uses of his opportunities there. He went to work in an insurance office, but later entered Manchester University, taking a degree in History. A post-graduate year at Exeter University led to a schoolmaster's position, first at a village school in Devon, then for seven years at Millfield....more
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“Thomas More: ...And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you--where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast--man's laws, not God's--and if you cut them down...d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.” 29 likes
“If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we'd live like animals or angels in the happy land that /needs/ no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all... why then perhaps we /must/ stand fast a little --even at the risk of being heroes.” 18 likes
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