Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons Essay

Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons Essay

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Robert Bolt's "A Man For All Seasons"

In the play, written by Robert Bolt, 'A man for all seasons' the
Common Man is a very important character and also a very important
part of the play, not in the plot but in the way the play has been
presented, he is both a narrator and a role player who makes the play
more interesting and separates it from reality. The Common Man also
introduces some of the ideas from Bertolt Brecht's work. The idea of
the Common Man is a rare and rather unusual one. Robert Bolt used him
intentionally to be like no other character in his play.

One of the distinctive functions of the Common Man is obvious from his
name. The word, 'common' meaning, 'common to us all.' Everybody in the
audience should be able to relate to him. The Common Man plays a very
plain and simple man and he sustains this through all his roles,
especially the Boatman, who when asked to describe the life of a
boatman says, 'its common.' We see the boatman as a typical hard
working man as he talks about the strains of his job, 'from Richmond
to Chelsea, downstream, from Chelsea to Richmond, upstream..' Yet this
character is still able to make a joke about his wife to show that he
is not bitter. The boatman is also the first to introduce the motif of
the river, water imagery in the play. This involves the members of the
play using the characteristics of water and portraying them into their
own lives, an example being society figures as dry land.

Throughout all the roles played by the Common Man, including the
Steward, Boatman, Publican, Jailer, Foreman of the jury and a
Headsman, he will always express a similar attitude, the attitude of
the 'plain and simple man,' as the jailer says. The speech used
amongst ...

... middle of paper ...

... shows self-preservation at one point and a way in which
he is not so simple and ordinary, when he declines the bribe, where as
a simple man might have just taken the money, The Common Man
understands the wrong and refuses the money. During his role as the
Foreman of the Jury, The Common Man seems to bring all the roles
together I think a quote that very well sums up the Common Man is when
the jailer says, 'Better alive and no conscience, than dead with

But I think the Common Man's most major function in the play is his
part as narrator, if it wasn't for the Common Man the story would be
told alone just by the characters, this could mean the story might be
harder to understand as it goes along. Furthermore the story would be
less interesting as well as harder to grasp. The Common Man is a very
important part of the play 'A man for all seasons.'

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