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Free Study Guide-A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt-Free Book Summary
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The Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Cromwell are discussing Sir Thomas More. Norfolk suggests that since he is not speaking out, Sir Thomas could just be left alone. Cromwell comments that his silence is very loud. He thinks that More needs to speak out. He brings up Sir Thomas telling about the problems in the North Country. So, he appears to be against Spain and with England. What he needs to do is speak out. A short statement would be sufficient. Norfolk doesn’t think that a statement is necessary. Cromwell says the king thinks differently. When questioned by Norfolk regarding what he might do, Cromwell tells him that he has heard that More has taken bribes in the past. Norfolk responds that all lawyers take bribes. It is still an offense that could send him to the Tower.

A woman approaches along with Richard Rich. The woman’s name is Catherine Anger. In April of 1526, six years ago, she put a property case in the Court of Requests. She says that the judgment was false. Cromwell disagrees. The judgment was definitely correct. Catherine wants to continue arguing the point. Cromwell says that is not the important part of this. Catherine says that she gave More an Italian silver cup. It cost her a hundred shillings. Cromwell says that they can corroborate that More accepted it. Cromwell tells Catherine to leave.

Norfolk figures that the woman is probably Cromwell’s witness. But, Cromwell’s witness is Rich. Rich clarifies the confusion by explaining that More gave him the cup. He has a witness, Matthew, More’s steward. Norfolk remembers the occasion. He was there. It was at Sir Thomas’ home. Norfolk remembers the date. It was the same month as Catherine’s court case. Norfolk figures out that, as soon as More realized that the cup was a bribe, he got rid of it. Norfolk does not think that they have a case. Cromwell will think of something better. Norfolk wants no part of it. Cromwell tells him that the king wants him involved. Norfolk’s friendship with More, which he has just proven, will be useful in showing that More is not being persecuted.

After Norfolk leaves, Rich apologizes to Cromwell. He had forgotten that Norfolk was a witness when he took the cup. Cromwell says that Norfolk is not a fool. It will be difficult to get him to go along with any plan.

Rich wants whatever they do to be legal. They need to find the right law. Or, if they cannot find one, they can make a new one.

Cromwell leaves and Matthew, More’s steward, enters. He asks Rich for a job. Rich reminds him of his disrespect toward Rich earlier. Matthew has an explanation. Earlier, Rich was conscious of his lower position and imagined people were being disrespectful. Now, however, Rich surely doesn’t think like that, does he? Rich accepts that argument. But, he will not allow any disrespect toward him. Matthew accepts that demand.

After Rich leaves, Matthew says that Rich will be easily handled.


In this scene we have a good opportunity to see how Matthew, and the Common Man also, thinks and how he analyses people. After quickly analyzing Richard Rich, he know exactly what to say to him to sooth him. And, he is confident that he will be just as successful in the future, if Rich hires him.

The Duke of Norfolk defends Sir Thomas More nicely in this scene. He appears to be a good friend of More’s.

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