Study Guide

A Man for All Seasons Justice and Judgment

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Justice and Judgment

Another way of titling this theme might've been "Injustice." Thomas More is martyred by the mechanisms of so-called justice at work in A Man for All Seasons… but that justice ain't particularly just.

And justice is a secondary concern to men like Rich and Cromwell, who will lie and cheat in order to gain a desired outcome. But More himself is really concerned with justice—for instance, by getting rid of a bribe when he realizes what it actually is.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. Since More ordered the execution of Protestants for heresy in real life, could you argue that his execution wasn't really a miscarriage of justice—it's just the tables being turned?
  2. Is King Henry VIII actually concerned with justice? Consider his reasoning about why his marriage is unlawful and the way he treats More's case.
  3. Do you think Cromwell was actually concerned with justice in any way, even though he acts so apparently unjust? (From his own perspective, is he just?)
  4. What does More mean when he says that he would "give the devil benefit of law" for his own sake? What would be the consequences of denying "the devil" the benefit of law?

Chew on This

A Man for All Seasons shows us that justice does not prevail—More is executed.

A Man for All Seasons shows us that justice does prevail—just listen to the voiceover at the end of the movie.

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