Study Guide

A Man for All Seasons Scene 3

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Scene 3

Scene 3

  • Back at the More residence, King Henry is about to pay Thomas a visit and have an informal chat. Everyone in the household is astir, nervous.
  • When the king arrives on a boat, he's accompanied by goofy courtiers who keep trying to gauge his mood so they know whether it's okay to laugh or not (like when the king leaps into a mud puddle).
  • King Henry meets More's family, accidentally demonstrates that Margaret More speaks better Latin than he does, and finally gets down to business: He wants Thomas to help him get his divorce, and denounces the deceased Wolsey for failing at the task.
  • The king got permission from the Pope to marry his brother's widow. But he's convinced that this was wrong and un-biblical, since his wife hasn't given birth to a male heir.
  • Now, he thinks it's only right that the Pope should grant him a new divorce so he can marry Anne Boleyn.
  • Even though the king promises to leave Thomas out of the divorce controversy, he gets angry when Thomas mentions the queen. Henry claims that he has no queen, and those who say he does are traitors.
  • After this discussion, More and Alice are consternated.
  • The king ends up leaving in a huff, laughing as he leaves some of his courtiers on the bank.
  • At the same time, Cromwell (who's also present) urges Richard Rich to join his side, wanting info on More. Rich says he can't tell him anything.
  • More reassures Alice about his tiff with the king. Then, Will Roper enters and says he's reconsidered his opinions on religion.
  • He's now in favor of the Church, he says—the king has gone too far, and an attack on the Church is an attack on God.
  • Thomas, being Chancellor, is irritated at Roper for saying these seditious things to him.
  • Rich enters and, sensing that everyone suspects him of being in cahoots with Cromwell, wildly accuses More's servant, Matthew, of being a spy. Rich begs More to employ him at court, but More refuses.
  • Rich leaves, and Roper, Margaret, and Alice want More to arrest Rich. But More says he won't, even if Rich is bad. He hasn't broken any laws, and they need to respect the rule of law.

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