Study Guide

A Man for All Seasons Rules and Order

By Robert Bolt

Rules and Order

In A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More is kind of like that kid from your elementary school who always reminded the teacher which students had been assigned detention at the end of the day. In other words, he's a real stickler for the rules. Unlike that kid from your elementary school, however, More is the real deal—he's a highly respected lawyer who knows more about the intricacies of British law than anyone else on the planet. But when More becomes a victim of the British legal system himself, he comes to the horrifying realization that all of his legal knowledge and political know-how isn't worth much in the face of pure, unrelenting power.

Questions About Rules and Order

  1. Why is More so obsessed with following the law?
  2. How does Cromwell's view of the law differ from More's?
  3. Was More's legal strategy a smart one? Should he have done something else?
  4. Does the ending of the play invalidate More's reverence for the legal system?

Chew on This

While More looks at the law objectively and with distance, Cromwell views the law as a tool to reach a goal.

In the end, More's need to follow the law to the letter becomes his undoing, as his enemies have no such limitations.

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