Morality is often overpowered by materialistic pursuits. In "A Man for All Seasons”,Robert Bolt shows the corruption of those who put self interest above all other values. His use of such characters as Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, Chapuys and Wolsey help convey this
corruption. There is yet another character who is a pragmatist that Bolt successfully represents. Thomas More is an idealist as well as a pragmatist, for he is prepared to give up everything for his beliefs and takes all precautions possible to make his case "watertight”. It is through this pragmatism and idealism that Robert Bolt shows the corruption of the times.
Thomas More believed in his ideals to such an extent that he was prepared to sacrifice his life for them, if the need arrived. He was a firm believer in the separation of Church and State. When the King tried to start the reformation of England and the Church by a simple Act of Parliament called the Act of Supremacy, Thomas refused to sign it. He believed that the indictment of the King was "grounded in an Act of Parliament which is directly repugnant to law
of God. The King in Parliament cannot bestow he Supremacy of the Church because it is a Spiritual Supremacy! And more to this the immunity of the Church is promised both in Magna Carta and the Kings own Coronation Oath!”(Bolt, p. 92) The marriage was yet another reason why More refused to sign the Act. He knew that if he signed it then he would accept the King as the Supreme Head of Church and thus give the King the power to "dispense with the dispensation” which to him was against his morals and religion. Of course the marriage was associated with other things -attack on the abbeys, the whole Reformation policy-to which More was violently opposed. When told by Norfolk that his parish attire is a disrespect to the King
and his office. More replies that "the service of God is not a dishonor to any office”(Bolt, p.26) E...