25+ Best 'A Man For All Seasons' Quotes

Anusuya Mukherjee
Dec 12, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Feb 18, 2021
A Man For All Seasons is a classic loved by many.

‘A Man For All Seasons’ was a play themed around corruption, directed by Robert Bolt.

This Robert Bolt play was first performed on 1 July 1960. It was performed at the Globe Theatre in London.

‘A Man For All Seasons’ by Robert Bolt was later adapted into a film with the same name. it was premiered on 12 December 1966. The screenplay of the movie was written by Robert Bolt. It was directed and produced by Fred Zinnemann, and it is a British biographical drama film.

The story, by Robert Bolt but based on real-life, is about the final years of Sir Thomas More, who was England's Lord Chancellor in the 16th century. He has also been venerated in the Catholic Church by the name of Saint Thomas More.

More was a hugely significant figure in history, for example, he did not agree to sign the letter asking Pope Clement VII to invalidate the King of England, Henry VIII’s marriage with the Queen of England, Catherine of Aragon.

He also refused the signing of a letter declaring Henry VIII as Church of England's Supreme Head. These two refusals show the significant role he played in Tudor England.

The main characters of Robert Bolt’s ‘A Man For All Seasons’ include Sir More, Richard Rich, the Duke of Norfolk, Alice More, Chief Justice, Margaret More, Cardinal Wolsey, Chapuys, Thomas Cromwell, Attendant, Will Roper, Matthew, Archbishop Cranmer, Anne Boleyn, and King Henry VIII. The side characters included the jailer, maid, courtier, Matthew’s wife, the executioner, and others.

‘A Man For All Seasons’ covers the years of Henry VIII’s reign from 1529 to 1535. More was appointed as the Lord Chancellor of England by King Henry VIII after the death of Cardinal Wolsey.

Through the course of the film, More’s disapproval of the King is shown.

When an oath is circulated which states that the King will be named as the Supreme Head of the Church, More is informed by his daughter that anyone who does not sign this Oath of Supremacy will face charges of high treason. Despite this, More refuses to sign it and is imprisoned.

The description of someone as "a man of all seasons" is apt for someone who is ready to cope with any situation and whose behavior is appropriate for every occasion. In Robert Bolt’s story, More is the man for all seasons, because he is always committed to his conscience.

This prevents him from signing the Supremacy Act as he feels that it will be the wrong thing to do.

At the end of the story, More is sentenced to death, but he is presenting as dying with dignity as he took his chance to express his disapproval of the Act. Before death, he cites the Biblical Foundation for the authority of Papacy over the Church and thus denounces the King’s supremacy over the Church as illegal.

This article has a list of quotes from Robert Bolt’s ‘A Man For All Seasons’. You can check out the ‘A Man For All Seasons’ quotes explained below, with quotes from all characters (including the common man quotes and more).

If you liked our list of quotes by Robert Bolt, then why not check out these [King and Queen quotes] and King Arthur quotes for more?

Quotes About The Roman Catholic Church

Some quotes from Robert Bolt about the Roman Catholic Church are listed below. These will give you an idea about the story of the movie and the play.

1. "From a heretic Church! Church? It's a shop! Salvation by the shilling, and divorces!"

- William Roper, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

2. "All right, I will. This isn't reformation. This is war against the Church. Our King has declared war on the Pope because the Pope will not declare that our Queen is not his wife."

- Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

Quotes About Marriage

A list of quotes from the story by Robert Bolt about marriage are given below. These were said by King Henry VIII.

3.  "They that say she is my wife are not only liars, but traitors! Yes, traitors! That I will not brook now! Treachery!... It maddens me! It is a deadly canker in the body politic, and I will have it out."

- King Henry VIII, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

4. "Thomas, you must consider, I stand in peril of my soul. It was no marriage."

- King Henry VIII, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

5. "I have no queen! Catherine's not my wife! No priest can make her so."

- King Henry VIII, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

Cardinal Wolsey Quotes

Cardinal Wolsey was the Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was an English Archbishop and statesman. He was the King’s almoner during the reign of Henry VIII.

He became the controlling figure for most matters of the state by 1514 and held important ecclesiastical appointments. He also became the Lord Chancellor, but he fell out of favor on his failure to negotiate an annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine.

On his way to London to answer the charges of treason against him, he died. His position was then given to More. Some of the quotes by Wolsey are listed below.

6. "He needs a son. I repeat, what are you going to do about it?"

- Cardinal Wolsey, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

7. "I think we might influence the decision of His Holiness."

- Cardinal Wolsey, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

Lady Alice More Quotes

Lady Alice More was Sir More’s second wife. She was also known by the name of Dame Alice More. Her first husband was John Middleton, who passed away leaving her alone to raise their daughter Alice.

She then remarried with Sir More and raised her daughter and the children of Sir More. She is a renowned figure from the Tudor period (1485- 1603). Some of the quotes said by her in the story by Robert Bolt are listed below.

8. “As for understanding, I understand that you are the best man that I ever met, or am likely to; And, if you go... Well, God knows why I suppose.

Though as God's my witness God's kept deadly quiet about it. And if anyone wants to know my opinion of the King and his Council, he only has to ask for it!”

- Alice More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

9. "No. If I'm to lose my rank and fall to housekeeping, I want to know the reason. So make a statement now."

- Alice More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

King Henry VIII Quotes

Henry VIII was the ruler of England from 1509 to 1547. He is known for his six marriages and for the efforts he made to get his first marriage annulled so that he could marry for the second time.

He was first married to Catherine of Aragon, but did not have any sons with her and thus wanted to remarry. However, he faced many problems in getting this first marriage annulled. This is why he began the English Reformation to separate the Church from Papal authority.

He also appointed himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. He passed away in 1547, and some quotes about Henry VIII from ‘A Man For All Seasons’ are listed below.

10. "Oh, Thomas, Thomas, Thomas. Does a man need a pope to tell him where he's sinned? It was a sin. God's punished me. I've no son."

- King Henry VIII, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

11. "No, Thomas, I respect your sincerity. But respect—man, that's water in the desert."

- King Henry VIII, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

12. "Thank God I have a friend for my chancellor. Readier to be friend, I trust, than he was to be chancellor."

- King Henry VIII, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

13. "Son after son she's borne me. All dead at birth, or dead within the month. I never saw the hand of God so clear in anything. It's my bounden duty to put away the Queen."

- King Henry VIII, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

Thomas Cromwell Quotes

Cromwell was the Chief Minister during King Henry VIII’s reign. He was the strongest proponent for the English Reformation and also arranged the annulment of the King’s first marriage so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.

However, he too soon fell out of favor and was charged for treason. Some quotes by Cromwell from ‘A Man For All Seasons’ are given below.

14. "If the King destroys a man, that's proof to the King that it must have been a bad man."

- Cromwell, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

15. "Yet how can this be? Because this silence betokened, nay, this silence was, not silence at all, but most eloquent denial!"

- Cromwell, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

16. "Then know that the King commands me to charge you, in his name, with great ingratitude! And to tell you that there never was, nor could be, so villainous a servant, nor so traitorous a subject, as yourself!"

- Cromwell, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

17. "Your Grace, not being a man of letters... you perhaps don't realize the extent of his reputation. This silence of his is bellowing up and down Europe! In Europe he is claimed as the King's enemy."

- Cromwell, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

Sir Thomas More Quotes

Sir More was an English lawyer and a social philosopher. He was a man for all seasons because he stood for what he thought was right.

He was a Renaissance humanist who also wrote a work of fiction, ‘Utopia’. He opposed the Protestant Reformation and did not sign the act for the annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage. He was charged with treason and was executed at the end of the film.

18. "Will, I'd trust you with my life. But not your principles. You see, we speak of being anchored to our principles. But if the weather turns nasty you up with an anchor and let it down where there's less wind, and the fishing's better."

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

19. "Why not be a teacher? You'd be a fine teacher; perhaps a great one."

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

20. "When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos."

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

21. "This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

22. "Because what matters is that I believe it, or rather, no... not that I believe it, but that 'I' believe it. I trust I make myself obscure."

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

23. "And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience... and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?"

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

The Best 'A Man For All Seasons' Quotes

Given below is a list of the best quotes from ‘A Man For All Seasons’. This list also has the very famous "silence is consent" quote from the film.

24. "No. Alice, it's a point of law. Accept it from me... that in silence is my safety, under the law. And my silence must be absolute. It must extend to you."

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

25. "Not so, Master Secretary. The maxim is 'Qui tacet consentiret': the maxim of the law is 'Silence gives consent.' If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied."

- Sir Thomas More, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

26. "Is that in fact what the world construes from it? Do you pretend that is what you wish the world to construe from it?"

- Cromwell, ‘A Man For All Seasons’.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the best 'A Man For All Seasons' quotes by Robert Bolt, then why not take a look at these [King quotes] or 'King Lear' quotes for more?

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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