Study Guide

Alice More in A Man for All Seasons

By Robert Bolt

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Alice More

While it's easy to miss out on Alice More's importance in A Man for All Seasons, this lioness of a woman is a big part of what makes Thomas More Thomas More, if you catch our drift. He may have the brains, but Alice has more than enough brawn for two.

When we first meet the Mores, their marriage is actually in a tense place, mostly due to the stress caused by Henry VIII's political machinations. Not the best look. While Alice has no issue with More's desire to stick a wrench in the King's divorce proceedings, she does take issue with his wishy-washy refusal to just do the darn thing already.

MORE: (Taking in her anxiety) Well, Alice. What would you want me to do?

ALICE: Be ruled! If you won't rule him, be ruled! (1.606-607)

See, Alice is a pure pragmatist at heart. Although she respects More's steadfastness—and even agrees with him to an extent—she refuses to sugarcoat the situation for him. More is taking a big risk, putting himself and his family in danger, and he needs to understand the full gravity of that decision. Just look at what she says to him after he's locked up in the Tower:

MORE: Alice, you must tell me that you understand!

ALICE: I don't! [...] I don't believe this had to happen. (2.649-650)

Surprisingly, Alice's words don't upset More as much as you might think—instead, they prompt him to boldly declare his wife to be "lion" (2.657). Alice might not be able to relate to More on an intellectual level like their daughter Margaret can, but her fearlessness and boldness earn her more than her fair share of her husband's admiration.

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