Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas More, an author, humanist, and lawyer who begins the play as a member of the King’s Council and rises to become lord chancellor of England. In his late forties, More is witty yet devout, a loyal Englishman yet a committed member of the Catholic Church. Respected throughout Europe for his intellectual and moral integrity, More dooms himself by refusing to accept Henry’s break with Rome over the king’s divorce and remarriage. By not submitting to pressure or fear, More becomes first a prisoner of his king and finally a martyr for his conscience and his beliefs.
Alice More, Sir Thomas’ wife. Also in her late forties, she is a solid, no-nonsense woman from a merchant family, and her interests are considerably less intellectual than her husband’s; she has never learned to read or write. Although she clearly loves Thomas, she is baffled and often infuriated by his stubborn stand on the question of the divorce and religious allegiance to Rome. In the end, however, she accepts his position and even his self-imposed death because of her great love and respect for him.
Margaret (Meg) More
Margaret (Meg) More, the daughter of Sir Thomas and Alice, in her middle twenties and remarkably well educated for a young woman of her time. She has the plain honesty of her mother tempered by the intellectual subtlety of her father. More clearly loves his Meg, as he calls her, above everything else in this world, and his greatest torment is to be separated from her by his imprisonment.
William Roper, Margaret’s suitor and later her husband, a young man in his early thirties who is highly opinionated and equally indiscreet in religious and political matters. Although his beliefs change several times during the drama, he is passionately devoted to each of them in sequence, from his initial fanatic Protestantism to his final staunch Catholicism. Roper’s fervent but mutable convictions are contrasted to More’s quiet but steadfast faith.
(The entire section is 869 words.)