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A Man for All Seasons | Study Guide

Robert Bolt

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A Man for All Seasons | Characters

Character Description
Sir Thomas More More is a lawyer, academic, and adviser to the king and later becomes the king's chancellor. When he refuses to support the king's marriage he's executed for treason. More resembles a tragic hero, or a protagonist whose judgment errors lead him to death. Read More
The Common Man The Common Man is a character who speaks directly to the audience as he comments on the action and gives historical background. He plays several minor roles, including those of Sir Thomas More's steward, the boatman, the jury foreman, the jailer, and the executioner. Read More
Thomas Cromwell Cromwell is the cardinal's secretary and an all-purpose aide to the king. He's the play's primary antagonist, leading the prosecution of More. Read More
Richard Rich Richard Rich is a dissatisfied academic hoping for a successful political career. As the play progresses he's promoted to the job of attorney general for Wales. He's a foil for More, since his rise mirrors More's fall. Read More
Duke of Norfolk Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, is a high-ranking nobleman and close friend of Sir Thomas More's. He supports More at first but is later forced to take part in More's conviction and execution. Read More
King Henry VIII Henry VIII is the king of England and a member of the Tudor ruling dynasty. He seeks the Catholic Church's approval to divorce his wife Catherine. Read More
Attendant to Chapuys The attendant is Chapuys' servant who occasionally accompanies him.
Boatman The boatman is a character played by the Common Man.
Chapuys Chapuys is the Spanish ambassador to England and a devout Catholic who constantly professes his faith. He's also a skilled diplomat, but he isn't very bright.
Thomas Cranmer Thomas Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury, is a stoic and "sharp-minded" man. He has no personal religious faith and approaches his job as administrative work.
Foreman of the jury The foreman of the jury leads the jury in determining Sir Thomas More's guilt. The role is played by the Common Man.
Headsman The headsman or executioner is a character played by the Common Man.
Jailer The jailer is a character played by the Common Man.
Alice More Alice is More's wife. She was born rich and enjoys the privileges of her class, and she also loves her eccentric husband. Alice is often caught between her devotion to More and her love of society.
Margaret More Margaret is More's daughter. She's thoughtful, modest, and intelligent, and she understands More's thoughts better than anyone in the family.
Publican The publican is an innkeeper. His role is played by the Common Man.
William Roper Roper is a young lawyer who marries Margaret. He's self-righteous and passionate and goes through a brief period of Protestant belief before recommitting to Catholicism.
Steward More's steward, called Matthew by the family, is played by the Common Man.
Cardinal Wolsey Wolsey is an elderly church authority. He's unpleasant and stern, living alone in "self-indulgence and contempt."
Woman The unnamed woman submitted a case to More while he worked as a lawyer. She disagreed with his judgment and tried to bribe him. Cromwell brings her in to confirm the bribe.
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