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

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The Common Man shows us how the power struggles of Tudor court life effect everybody, not just elite members of society such as Sir Thomas More. The various characters played by The Common Man are from much further down the social scale than the play's protagonist, yet through regular contact with their upper-class masters they find themselves being sucked into a dangerous world where self-preservation is everything.

As the play progresses, the respective guises of The Common Man come to display a greater degree of awareness of the part they play within such a repressive society. Yet even so, they do not rebel against their guilty consciences; they do as they are told by their alleged superiors. The jailer, for instance, wonders aloud whether he should set Sir Thomas free before eventually deciding against it. In such a society as this, individual acts of bravery simply won't change anything, and so the jailer remains wedded to doing his legal, if not his moral, duty.


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