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A Man for All Seasons
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A Man for All Seasons

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  6,868 ratings  ·  281 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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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
This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast-man's laws, not God's-and if you cut them down-and you're just the man to do it-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.

Several years ago I did something stupid, not sure what. It is near certain that I knew at the time. My wife yelled at me. I deserved that, I'm sure of that in hindsight. I sat and read this in one go. It isn't histori
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
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
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
Irene Lê
3.5 stars If anybody petition for Goodreads to create a rating system with half star in it, I will be the first to sign.
Format: Play
Favorite characters : Thomas More - the witty, saintly guy who (view spoiler) to preserve his selfhood, rather than suffer himself under the whims and wishes of his society, and betray his conscience by swearing to a lie.
What's good about this? :
The play is short, the dialogue had a lot of quotable quotes, clever uses of symbol
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.
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
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
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.
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)...

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
Magnificent play showing More's life and his trial under Henry VIII's reign.
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
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
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
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!
"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."
"When Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) seeks approval from the English aristocra
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
Joshua Guest
Two of my best friends, Nat Harward and Derek Senior, got me Thomas More-themed Christmas presents one year. I ended up with "Utopia", a DVD of the movie Man For All Seasons, and the script. I quote this play every week, maybe every day. I don't mind most of the time when the people I love don't share my taste in art. But I am saddened every time I try to get other people to watch this particular film with me and they walk away 15 minutes in because they just don't seem to understand how great a ...more
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.
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
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
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
Isabel Harouny
The inspiring story of Sir Thomas More paired with the lyrical writing and dialogue of Robert Bolt portrays clear themes and messages throughout the play. It may seem as if the main theme of the play is morality, and there is no question as to why. Thomas More's conscience and morals are constantly challenged by everyone around him, including his family. More does not heed to the voices of those around him, but stands up for what he believes to be the right thing, even when his life is at stake ...more

I thought this book was fascinating. I loved the portrayal of Sir Thomas More. The whole story is really thought-provoking and actually a bit disturbing. I saw myself in Sir Thomas More's position, either having to abandon my moral code or face death. At times I think I would choose to be someone like the Duke of Norfolk, not entirely agreeing with a seemingly unjust law, but caving in to protect myself. However, I think More sets a great example. He was in a really tricky p
Craig Wilcox
Although this play looks old fashioned and, from its cover and summary on the back, seems like it was written in the 1500s, it's actually a fairly modern piece (1960) about a real historic figure who lived during the time of King Henry VIII, Thomas More. Even though the play is based on history, Bolt takes some artistic license to create specific and interesting characters. From the likable and extremely pious Thomas More to the funny and sometimes bitter Common Man, Bolt paints a picture of lif ...more
Sep 28, 2014 Mohammad rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hamdy El-Gammal
Recommended to Mohammad by: Stephen Colbert
Most people heard about the story of this play. Sir Thomas More, the lord chancellor, who opposed the second marriage of King Henry VIII, and was executed for it. This book is Robert Bolt's depiction of Sir More during that time and his take on the nature of the man himself. I find his depiction of More's courage remarkably realistic, it makes this book one of my all time favourites.
More's bravery in standing his ground against the might of the crown, refusing to consent to the marriage, is summ
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
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
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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.
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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.” 31 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.” 19 likes
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