Is the 'Hero' and A Man for All Seasons one and the same in Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons?
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The short answer is 'yes'. "[Thomas] More, "wrote Robert Whittinton in 1520, "is a man of an angel's wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons" (My emphasis). The quotation is from the "ad lectorem" of the Vulgaria. See Beatrice White (ed.), The Vulgaria of John Stonbridge and the Vulgaria of Robert Whittinton, Early English Text Society (London, 1932), p. xxviii. Robert Bolt found in Whittinton's apt phrase a title for his play. It sums up in a few words the "man with an adamantine sense of his own self, [who] knew where he began and left off, what area of himself he could yield to the encroachments of his enemies, and what to the encroachments of those he loved." (Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons (New York, 1962), p. xii.) By this perfect title Bolt wanted to highlight not the hero of a tragedy, but one who elucidates the triumph of conscience. Precisely because More struggles with what he owes to human power, and what he owes to God, can he be a hero to every person in every time who does the same.
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