Sir Thomas More the Martyr Essay

Sir Thomas More the Martyr Essay

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The definition of a martyr is a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion. When Sir Thomas More died in July of 1535, he became a martyr. In the play A Man for All Seasons, author Robert Bolt shows us his views on how More came to his death . In this play, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, King Henry VIII, and Sir Thomas More himself are responsible for his death. Although it could be argued that many more people in Sir Thomas More’s life had a part in contributing to his death, these four characters had the greatest part in eventually bringing him to his death.
Some people may say that Cromwell and Rich were just pawns in the King’s plot, however they can’t possibly argue that they weren’t in control of their actions. Cromwell and Rich are essentially responsible for the final prosecution of More. Together, they are guilty of letting their inner want and need for power cloud their consciences, which led them to bring down a good man of Thomas More. More, being a smart man, could beat them in a court of law. Rather than fighting More with the law, Rich and Cromwell decided to break it. Rich lied under oath sending More to his deathbed, and he responded, “I am sorrier for your perjury than my peril”(156). Cromwell, in his quest for power, saw a doorway of opportunity where he could bring down More and in the process benefit his own social and economic status. As More stated, “Silence gives consent” (152) and Cromwell’s silence during Rich’s illegitimate testimony makes him an accessory to the crime and therefore just as guilty as Rich. Together, Rich and Cromwell are partners in the crime, whether they are accomplices to King Henry or for their own reasons. Either way, they are still responsibl...


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...and, “I don’t believe this had to happen”(144). At least twice Sir Thomas More made poor choices and put himself into bad situations in the play, which ultimately took him closer and closer to his death.
Sir Thomas More never had to die. He was the only person that really understood the implications that complying with the King’s desires would cause and yet he still ended up in the most undesirable position one could imagine. Many people caused the death of Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, however those that are most guilty are King Henry, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, and Sir Thomas More. Who of these is most guilty is a matter of opinion, but that these people are truly and completely guilty of ending Sir Thomas More’s life is a fact. From King to commoner each of these people played a vital role in the destruction of one man’s honest and righteous life.

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