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Written by Aruna Popescu
As this is a historical play the audience is most likely to know the ending. Even if the viewers are not familiar with the story, the Common Man offers much context and his comments foreshadow More's death. This is ironic as the characters, unlike the audience, do not know what is going to happen.
At the start of the play Rich pleads with More to employ him as he 'would be steadfast'. However, despite his friendship with More, by the end of the play he is part of the plot that brings More's downfall.
rigging the law
The Law is depicted throughout the play as dry land - steady and safe. However, during the scene of the trial it is clear that it will fail to protect More. He is not guilty of any crime and as such the only way to execute him is to put on a sham trial under the pretext of seeking justice.
More's incapability to see the danger
For a wise, intelligent man as More it is truly unbelivable that he is unable to see the true face of things. He constantly claims that “no man in England is safer than” him although it is obvious to the audience as well as to the other characters that this is not the case.
More being seen as a saint
Throughout the play More insists that he is making 'no gesture'. His personal beliefs and conscience prevent him from taking an oath but this does not mean that he is taking a stand and supporting the Catholich Church. However, the other characters, such as Roper and Chapuys, fail to understand More's motivation. As such, through dying he becomes a Catholic saint.
Wolsey is a Cardinal, an ordained member of the Catholic Church. However, he is seeking to obtain a divorce for Henry despite the Pope's refusal. Also, he laments More's 'moral squint' as this is what prevents him from being a stateman. His comment shows that he is firstly a politician and only then a member of the church.
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You might consider the detail given to the goblet at the end of the scene.The goblet will become important later on in the play. The cup becomes instrumental in More’s conviction at the end of the play.