A Man for All Seasons - Thomas More

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A Man For All Seasons – Character Analysis of Thomas More

Thomas More is the character that has been chosen for the purpose of this analysis under Dr. Kohlberg’s Moral stages of development. Under the description of the six levels of development one can easily identify Thomas More as an individual who has transcended to the 6th and final level of morality as defined by Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development. Through an analysis of each individual level this paper will identify how, using textual references, Thomas More has transcended beyond each level of moral development, concluding with an analysis on specifically how one can identify Thomas More as an individual that has reached the final stage of Moral Development as defined by Kohlberg.

Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment Orientation

At the preconventional level, the concept of morality based on obedience and punishment orientation is not uncommon in an era ruled by monarchs, and an unequal distribution of power and influence. Most characters, Cromwell, Rich, and even Norfolk included – are individuals who obey rules(conform) to avoid punishment deferring to a supposed superior power. Thomas More however, has transcended beyond this level of morality (while many have not), not only by his actions but by the admissions of others as well.

“You wouldn’t find him easy to frighten! You’ve mistaken your man this time! He doesn’t know how to be frightened” (Bolt 46)

It is in this admission of Rich, the reader is first exposed to the fact, which holds true throughout the course of the play, that Thomas More is not a man who will defer his morals out of fear of punishment. Nor defer to a superior power simply to avoid trouble. He is after all, a man whom cannot be frightened.

Stage 2: Naively Egoistic Orientation

Stage two of Kohlberg’s theory identifies that moral values are based on the concept of…...

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