Essay Topic: A man for all season and the ethical themes presented. Robert Bolt’s “A man for all seasons” play can serve as an example of how literature can reflect the ethical issues in the current society. In this essay, I am going to illustrate the ethical themes presented by the play through analyzing it. I will focus on three main parts: the self and the society, Sir Thomas More as a moral hero, the current issues that the play indirectly presented in the process of making decisions of leaders. It could be seen from the preface of Bolt that he wanted to illustrate how the authentic individuality in the modern society was eroded. He stated that “I think the paramount gift our thinkers, artists, and for all I know, our men of science, should labor to get for us is a sense of selfhood without resort to magic”. What he is claiming is that our society is preventing us from achieving our authentic selfhood. People tend to define themselves in different classes, jobs, possessions and so on but not everyone defines the society according to the selfhood. The author wants to emphasize that we lose ourselves in the mass and we never see the true inner ourselves which Sir Thomas More always sticks to in the play. As a result of losing our own beliefs, we are dominated by other unworthy values. In other word, the self deprives us of guidance in our other interested aspirations as how to live. Without such guidance, the self is lost and a man lost his own values. Ethically, a lack of self-definition means that there are no boundary or standard for what we do and what we do not do. As it was illustrated in the play, Thomas More is the man of law “I would give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake”, he also believed this as his conscience. He always followed the rule and used it as a tool to protect himself when he was in jail or being interrogated. In contrast, Richard Rich conquered and destroyed his conscience rather than...
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