Everyone in A Man For All Seasons is Pursuing Their Own Ends. What Makes More

Often, it is impossible to reach our goals without resorting to some sort of
pragmatism. In A Man For All Seasons every character has their own ends to meet,
and the only distinguishable feature between them is how they go about it. Some
characters disregard all sense of morality as they plunge into a approach which
primarily encompasses self-interest. In all, most of the characters in the play
personify selfishness in one way or another. Of course there are some whose
selfishness is more noticeable than others, however at some point they are all
deficient in their consideration of others and live chiefly for personal profit.
All, except for one. Sir Thomas More is a man who subconsciously is a slave to
his conscience. He executes selfless acts in order to do what he knows is legal,
and what he thinks is right. He is one of very few people who have died with
their integrity intact. He is a special man, who is steadfast in upholding his
principles, even when death breathes down his neck. Sir Thomas More truly is a

One character in the play particularly concerned with his goals, regardless of
the path he must take to reach them is Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is the
personification of pragmatism and is willing to do anything, providing the end
sees him satisfied. "…our job as administrators is to make it as convenient as
we can," Cromwell states in reference to the King's divorce and the pursuit of
More's support. He is "…the King's ear," and is thus responsible for all the
menial tasks which the King would otherwise have to perform, including seeing to
it that Sir Thomas More either agrees to give the King his support or is
punished. One of these duties is to spy on others for the King's benefit. One
instance of this is on the night More goes to visit cardinal Wolsey, Cromwell ‘
magically' appears as More is on his way home. He asks of More, "You left him…in
his laughing mood, I hope?" This was Cromwell's method of establishing whether
the divorce had been discussed between More and the Cardinal that evening. For
if it was, there was no way the Cardinal could be in any sort of "…laughing
mood." One thing Cromwell fails to realise is that by doing his job for the King
and arranging More's death, he, "…plants my own." In order to reach his goal of
receiving flattery and credit for the King's business he is scheming and brutal
and boldly proclaims, "When the King wants something done, I do it." He is
completely amoral by the end of the play and is not seen to possess many human
characteristics, especially that of empathy and sensitivity towards other human

Another skill which Cromwell possesses is that of being able to easily sense the
weaknesses of others. He can clearly see that More is facing a huge problem with
the technicalities of the divorce. He knows that, "The trouble is, his innocence
is tangled in the proposition that you can't change your woman….unless the Pope
says so." He continuously endeavours to find out how easily More can be
manipulated, by manipulating Rich. Cromwell questions rich about the details of
a court case More was once was involved in to confirm the allegation that More
took a bribe.

In essence, the perpetrator of More's downfall is the king himself. Not even
More can understand why the king is so insistent on having More's support with
regard to his divorce from Queen Catherine. However, the King claims that it is
because More is, "…known to be honest." He is certain that More would not give
his approval of the divorce and subsequent marriage unless he was sincere. The
King deduces this from the fact that More stands out as the only supporter of
the King with genuine reasons for doing so. Henry believes that, "There are
those…who follow me because I wear the crown…and there is a mass that…follows
anything that moves…- and there is you." This statement alludes to More's ‘
special' qualities which make him such a unique man.

Primarily, Henry does not possess an immoral or sadistic character, rather he is
merely determined to get his way. In order to become autonomous, he will, "…
brook no opposition…" and to monitor this he employs Cromwell as his spy who is
responsible for gathering any information pertaining to the King. Cromwell is a
loyal subject and knows exactly how and where to