Neither Thomas More or the Common Man are able to serve two masters In the playA Man for All Seasons by Roger Bolt, The Spanish Ambassador Chapuys says toSteward, a role played by the common man, “No man can serve twomasters. . . “(Bolt, 24).
Within the play this statement is proven true forall the characters, especially for The Common Man and Sir Thomas More. TheCommon Man, shows himself time and again that he truly serves one master andthat master is himself; whereas with More attempts to serve two masters. Moreattempt to serve King Henry of England, and God. By the end of the play it isshown that More cannot serve two masters despite all his efforts. It is apparentwithin the play that the Common Man is serving himself as his only master and noone else.
In the play it may seem that he is not a self-serving character due tothe fact that he obeys what people tell him to do, for instance in hisconversations with Cromwell, and Chapuys, they ask him for knowledge about hismaster, Sir Thomas More. Firstly Cromwell asks him information concerning More’sattitude towards the King’s divorce of his wife the Queen. The Common Manreplies, “Sir, Sir Thomas doesn’t talk about it. . . He doesn’t talk about itto his wife, sir.
. . Sir, he goes white when it’s mentioned!” Cromwell (handscoin): All Right. “(Bolt, 23. ).
Later with his conversation with Chapuys heis asked about More’s spirituality, “Sir Thomas rises at six, sir, andprays for an hour and a half. . . During lent, sir he lived entirely on bread andwater.
. . He goes to twice a week, sir. Parish Priest. Dominican.
. . “(Bolt,24). Chapuys then replies to the Common Man, “Good, simple man. Here.
(Gives coin. Going). . .
“(Bolt, 24). As you can see he does what he wants forhimself and no other especially divulging information for money. The Common Manalso only holds loyalty unto himself and no other. At the first sign his needswill no longer be met to his satisfaction he leaves.
For when More loses his joband no longer has an income, the Common Man collects his belongings and leaves,”Now, damn me isn’t that them all over. . . I nearly fell for it. . .
`Matthew,will you kindly take a cut in your wages?’ `No, Sir Thomas I willnot. ‘”(Bolt, 57). The Common Man is a very sly person, and holds nothingback when it comes to him and a job. This is evident as he acquires a positionwith Richard Rich, another very self- serving person by easily manipulating him.
Richard Rich had no inclination to hire the Common Man; he was manipulated sowell that the Common Man gets a job, “Oh. Oh, I must contradict you there,sir; that’s your imagination. In those days, sir, you still had your way tomake. And a gentleman in that position often imagines these things. Then whenhe’s risen to his proper level, sir, he stops thinking about it.
. . Well – I don’tthink you find people `disrespectful’ nowadays, do you sir?”(Bolt, 61-62). Now, Sir Thomas More, through out the play tries to balance his life between Godand King. More as he obeys God and King prays for his King, “Dear Lord giveus rest tonight, or if we must be wakeful, cheerful.
Careful only for our soul’ssalvation. For Christ sake. Amen. And bless our lord the King. “(Bolt, 8).
To continue his service for both God and King, More is willing to sacrificeeverything if it will allow him to serve both; “There is my right arm. (Apractical position. ) Take your dagger and saw it from my shoulder, and I willlaugh and be thankful, if by that means I can come with Your Grace with a clearconscience. “(Bolt, 31).
For in the play More is forced with a choice, toeither continue in his service to King Henry and go against the Catholic Churchor quite his job and continue in his service to the King, “If the Bishopsin Convocation submitted this morning, I’ll take it off. . . It’s nodegradation.
“(Bolt, 48). In the play the Act of Supremacy is passed. Thepurpose of this act is to affirm that the King is the Supreme Head of the Churchin England. If More were not to swear to this act he would be committing hightreason against the King.
Since More believes that he can serve two masters, heroots through the act looking for a loophole. A loophole that will allow him tocontinue serving his God and King. “Supreme Head of the Church in England— `so far as the law of God allow it remains a matter of opinion since the actdoesn’t state it. “(Bolt, 48) Only at the very end of his life, as he sitsin a courtroom does he finally realize that he cannot serve God and King. It ishere that he realizes that he must choose, and he chooses God.
After RichardRich perjures himself to convict More in court, Cromwell offers More his lastchance to choose between God and King, and More does choose God above all,”To what purpose? I am a dead man. (To Cromwell. ) You have your desire ofme. What you have hunted me for is not my actions, but the thoughts of my heart. It is a long road you have opened. For first men will disclaim there hearts andpresently they will have no hearts.
God help the people whose Statesmen walkyour road. “(Bolt, 95). It is evident that in the play A Man For All Seasonsby Robert Bolt the characters in focus, The Common Man serve’s but one masterhimself. And Sir Thomas More who attempt to serve two masters is unable and inthe end when he chooses to serve his King keep his life and lose his soul, orserve his God keep his soul and lose his life. He chooses God. This play clearlyshows that, no man can serve two masters.