A Man For All Seasons


Two different endings were written by Bolt. The original ending, performed during the show's preliminary run in England, had Cromwell and Chapuys confront each other after More's execution and then exit the stage, hand in hand, chuckling with "the self-mocking, self-indulgent, rather rueful laughter of the men who know what the world is and how to be comfortable in it".

This particular ending is exemplary of Bolt's notion of "riding with the current", as is demonstrated by "men who know what the world is and how to be comfortable in it", forsaking one's conscience in exchange of a life of "convenience". For the show's London production – and most, if not all, subsequent runs of the show – the Common Man sheds his executioner's garb and addresses the audience one final time:

"... It isn't difficult to keep alive, friends – just don't make trouble – or if you must make trouble, make the sort of trouble that's expected... If we should bump into one another, recognize me."

The film version of the play ends with More's execution, followed by a narrator reading off the fates of the various characters involved (originally, this was dialogue spoken by the Common Man prior to the Tower of London Inquiry).

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