What is the role of The Common Man in A Man Of All Seasons?

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The Common Man in this play is meant to be taken as a character that everyone can identify with. The Common Man in this play is both universal and base in his character, identifying one of the key themes of the play - that man is base and immoral at heart. The Common Man acts out many roles in the play to establish his universal nature, but actually develops into his own character as the play progresses. He starts off by acting out Matthew and the boatman, who are lowerclass characters who poke fun at upperclass characters. Yet this theme of immorality even penetrates these characters, as we see that Matthew tries to ignore his guilt at having sold Moore out.

The Common Man as the play develops becomes more aware of their own immorality. The Jailer for example directly addresses the audience as he agonises over whether to set Moore free. At the end of the play it is the Common Man that states that being alive is the only thing that counts. By using the character of the Common Man and establishing his involvement in the persecution of Moore, Bolt wishes to draw us all in to the moral dilemma that is at the heart of the play.