Study Guide

A Man for All Seasons Scene 9

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Scene 9

Scene 9

  • Finally, on the day of the trial, More is brought into court, after saying a prayer.
  • Cromwell accuses him of denying the king's marriage and right to break with the Church. More explains that he's merely kept silent by not signing the oath.
  • Cromwell addresses the jury, telling them that More is like a man who silently watched a murder take place—his silence implying his consent in the rightness of the murder.
  • More says that the law needs to construe his silence in the opposite way, based on a classic principle of justice, as consent to the king's marriage and right to rule.
  • But, now, Richard Rich enters and he testifies—falsely—that More openly told him that parliament did not have the right to make the king the new head of the church.
  • More denies this movingly to the jury, and asks to see Rich's new chain of office—he's now Attorney General of Wales.
  • More says that scripture says one shouldn't give away one's soul for the whole world, let alone Wales.
  • The jury pronounces More guilty. Since the court has condemned him to death, More finally voices his true opinion, saying that Parliament acted repugnantly in appointing the king the head of the Church of England. He says they're killing him for not bending to this unlawful marriage.
  • On the day of Thomas More's execution, he says he dies the king's servant—but God's first. He forgives the executioner who will kill him since he's sending him to God. A priest asks him if he's sure, and Thomas says God won't reject someone who was so blithe to go to him.
  • The executioner beheads More (we only see the ax come down).
  • A voiceover at the end of the movie says that Margaret took home More's head after it hung on traitor's gate. Cromwell was later killed for treason, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was burned at the stake.
  • The Duke of Norfolk was almost executed, but was saved when the king died from syphilis.
  • Ironically, Richard Rich eventually became Chancellor of England, and died safely in his bed.

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