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A Man for All Seasons (selected quotes)

more quotes from A Man for All Seasons:


Sir Thomas More: Why not be a teacher? You'd be a fine teacher; perhaps a great one.
Richard Rich: If I was, who would know it?
Sir Thomas More: You; your pupils; your friends; God. Not a bad public, that... 





The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I'm not a scholar, I don't know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can't you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!
Sir Thomas More: 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? ...





Margaret More: Father, that man's bad.
Sir Thomas More: There's no law against that.
William Roper: There is: God's law.
Sir Thomas More: Then God can arrest him. ...





William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? 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: I think that 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: [to Will Roper] Now, listen, Will. Two years ago you were a passionate churchman. Now you're a passionate Lutheran. We must just pray that when your head's finished turning, your face is to the front again...




Cardinal Wolsey: You're a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see facts flat-on, without that horrible moral squint... With a little common sense you could have made a statesman....




The Duke of Norfolk: Your life lies in your own hands, Thomas, as it always has.
Sir Thomas More: Is that so, My Lord? Then I'll keep a good grip on it. ...





Sir Thomas More: I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live. ...




Sir Thomas More: When a man takes an oath, he's holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn't hope to find himself again. ...




[last lines]
Sir Thomas More: [talking to the witnesses for his execution] I am commanded by the King to be brief, and since I am the King's obedient subject, brief I will be. I die his Majesty's good servant but God's first.
[to the executioner]
Sir Thomas More: I forgive you right readily.
[he gives him a coin]
Sir Thomas More: Be not afraid of your office; you send me to God.
Archbishop Cranmer: You're very sure of that, Sir Thomas?
Sir Thomas More: He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to him.
[he kneels and puts his head on the chopping block]
Narrator: Thomas More's head was stuck on Traitors' Gate for a month, then his daughter, Margaret, removed it and kept it till her death. Cromwell was beheaded for high treason five years after More. The archbishop was burned at the stake. The Duke of Norfolk should have been executed for high treason, but the king died of syphilis the night before. Richard Rich became chancellor of England and died in his bed. ...


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