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Free Study Guide-A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt-Free Book Summary
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ACT TWO, SCENE SIX

Summary

Sir Thomas More is trying to flag down a boat for a ride home. No one will stop for him. He sees the Duke of Norfolk and complains to him. Norfolk is not surprised. Even knowing More is dangerous. Norfolk warns him that the king is using him to get to More. More thinks that it would be more accurate to say that Cromwell is using Norfolk. More advises Norfolk to no longer know him. More cannot take away the need for Norfolk to obey the king, but he can relieve Norfolk of the need to be his friend. Norfolk must consider the safety of his son. Norfolk has another suggestion. More could just give in to the demands of the king. Norfolk says that their friendship is easier to alter than his self. Norfolk wants to know why More must be special. Why can t he be like everyone else? Giving up on talking Norfolk into ending their friendship, More takes matters into his own hands. He steps away and calls Norfolk a fool. Norfolk still is not ready to end their friendship.

More tells Norfolk that he and his friends find the issue involved to be less important than More does. That is why they find it possible to give in. Norfolk attempts to say that the English nobility are very religious, but More says that they are more interested in their dogs.

More tries to tell Norfolk that there should be a special place in him that no one can touch just as there is a special place in More. It is called the self. Norfolk should discover that special place and protect it.

Margaret is heard off in the background calling her father. Then, she approaches, surprised to see More lashing out at her father and leaving.


Margaret starts to question her father, but is interrupted by the approach of Will Roper. Together, they tell More about the new Act of Parliament. Everyone is to take an oath under compulsion of treason. More wants to know the wording, the exact wording. A copy of the bill will be arriving at their home. They must get home.

Margaret has an opportunity to question her father about Norfolk’s departure. More explains that he insulted Norfolk’s water spaniels.

More tells Margaret and Will that sometimes God brings us trouble. Our job is to get out of the trouble. He wants to go home and review the Bill.

Notes

The Act of Parliament mentioned in this scene is the Act of Succession. The king wanted every one of his subjects to sign it in order to guarantee that the right of his offspring by Queen Anne to succeed him would not be questioned when the time came. He did not want Mary, his daughter by Queen Katherine, to have any claim to the throne. Eventually Mary did become queen, but only after his future son, Edward, and his daughter by Anne Boleyn had their turns.

The boatmen who do not pick up Sir Thomas More are acting as the other Common Man characters do. They are all interested in preserving themselves. They know that it would not be wise to be seen in the company of someone who is out of favor with the king.

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