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A Man for All Seasons By Robert Bolt (1960). England in the 1500s   The Catholic Church was an integral part of everyday life, but was in dire need.

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Presentation on theme: "A Man for All Seasons By Robert Bolt (1960). England in the 1500s   The Catholic Church was an integral part of everyday life, but was in dire need."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Man for All Seasons By Robert Bolt (1960)

2 England in the 1500s   The Catholic Church was an integral part of everyday life, but was in dire need of reform (corruption of clergy, etc).   Many English resented the taxes assessed by Rome (a foreign city) and the wealth and power of the monasteries.   England had found a new political stability provided by the Tudor Dynasty and King Henry VII. The Wars of the Roses, battles of dynastic succession between the houses of Lancaster and York that devastated England from 1455 to 1485, were over.   Public service meant serving the king whose powers were growing at the expense of the Church and the nobility. In 1509, Henry VII was succeeded by his son, Henry VIII, who was to rule England for 38 years.   In the universities, old ideas about faith and learning were being challenged by the new secular ideas of the Renaissance.

3 King vs. Pope Pope Clement VII (1478 –1534 Pope ) King Henry VIII ( Ruled )

4 King vs. Pope   The Pope (Clement VII) was under the political and military domination of Henry's enemy Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor—Catherine's nephew—and refused Henry's request for an annulment of the marriage.   The King's response was to sever England's relationship with the Catholic Church and to set up a new Church of England with the King at its head.   Henry appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury (Thomas Cranmer) as the highest cleric of the Church in England. Cranmer promptly annulled Henry's marriage to Catherine.   All of this occurred against the background of the growing strength of the Protestant Reformation in Northern Europe and in England.

5 Sir Thomas More ( ): A man of contradictory elements   A leading humanist (advocating reforms in education, society, and the Church) but also a devout Catholic (he wore a hair shirt and prayed extensively each day).   Seriously considered becoming a priest, but also wanted a family. Decided he’d rather be a good husband rather than a bad priest.   Knew that the Catholic Church needed serious reform, but still believed it was the visible communion of Christians that was the permanent/living sign of Christ's presence.   Worried that breaking from the Catholic Church would encourage Protestantism in England.   Because he did not recognize Henry’s divorce (and marriage to Anne Boleyn), More was accused of treason, imprisoned, and beheaded in 1535 (a year before Anne Boleyn)   For dying for his beliefs, More was later named a saint by the Catholic Church

6 Characters 1. The Common Man – 1. The Common Man – takes on several roles, the narrator, shows the effects of the action on the everyday person, designed to remind the audience that they are watching a play 2 2. Thomas More – 2. Thomas More – lawyer, devout Catholic, humanist, friend of the king 3 3. Richard Rich – 3. Richard Rich – amoral, ambitious, antagonist, jealous of More 4 4. Duke of Norfolk – 4. Duke of Norfolk – uncle to Anne Boleyn, “aware of his own moral and intellectual insignificance”

7 Characters 6 6. Margaret More – 6. Margaret More – More’s daughter, very educated, dedicated to her father and his beliefs 7 7. William Roper – 7. William Roper – educated gentleman, protestant convert 8 8. Cardinal Wolsey – 8. Cardinal Wolsey – voice of the Catholic Church in England, chancellor under Henry VIII, ambitious but failing 5 5. Alice More – 5. Alice More – More’s wife, worships society, worships her husband

8 Characters 9 9. Thomas Cromwell – 9. Thomas Cromwell – advisor to Henry VIII, advocate of reform, antagonist, jealous of More, an “intellectual bully” 10 Chapuys – dignified 10. Eustace Chapuys – dignified Spanish ambassador Thomas Cranmer – 11. Thomas Cranmer – Archbishop of Canterbury, “lacks personal religiosity” 12. King Henry VIII – still a young man, the “Golden Hope of the New Learning throughout Europe”

9 Themes of the Play  Loyalty & Friendship  Duty to One’s Self vs. Duty to One’s King  Identity  Conscience & Guilt  The Power of Silence  Corruption of Authority  The Laws of Man vs. The Laws of Religion


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