The Common Man
A character that plays all of the other minor, “common” roles in the play. First, he acts as Matthew, Thomas More’s Steward. He later becomes the Boatman, Jailer, Foreman, Innkeeper… read analysis of The Common Man
Sir Thomas More
Thomas More is the “Man For All Seasons” in the title of the play. He is an English lawyer, eventually promoted to Chancellor and assistant to the King after Wolsey’s death. A devoted Catholic… read analysis of Sir Thomas More
He begins the play as a poor academic and Thomas More’s friend, but quickly rises through the ranks of British society. First Rich acts as an assistant to Norfolk, and then he befriends… read analysis of Richard Rich
Duke of Norfolk
A friend of Thomas More, and a member of the government under the King. In the Second Act he is forced to collaborate with Cromwell to try to convince More to approve the Act of… read analysis of Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Wolsey is a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Lord Chancellor, an adviser to the King. When England was a part of the Catholic Church he served as a liaison between… read analysis of Cardinal Wolsey
He begins the play as Secretary to Cardinal Wolsey, but primarily acts as an agent of the King. His job is to carry out any and all of the King’s requests. Although his… read analysis of Thomas Cromwell
King Henry VIII
Often referred to only as the King, Henry was the ruler of England from 1509-1547. He had six wives, although the play only refers to two—Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. He wanted… read analysis of King Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon
The first wife of King Henry VIII. She was originally married to Henry’s older brother, Arthur, but he died less than a year after their wedding. She was the daughter of the King and Queen… read analysis of Catherine of Aragon
The second wife of King Henry VIII. She never appears onstage, but sets in motion many of the play’s events. She and Henry begin an affair while he is still married to his first… read analysis of Anne Boleyn
A young man in love with Thomas More’s daughter, Margaret, who he eventually marries. He comes from a good family, although he never seems to have a real job. He has strong opinions that he changes often, which make him seem unserious.
She attempts to bribe Thomas More to rule in her favor in a court case. Although she sends him a silver cup, he does not rule in her favor. The cup becomes important as Cromwell searches for any of More’s past indiscretions with which to blackmail him.
A professional diplomat to Spain. He is sympathetic to Thomas More’s struggle because he sees More’s resistance to the King’s divorce as an endorsement of Catherine, and by extension, Spain. He generally begins meetings pretending they are for pleasure, when really they are for business.
An assistant to the Spanish diplomat, Chapuys.
The daughter of Thomas More and Alice More. She is well read and well spoken. She is in love with Will Roper, who she eventually marries.
The Archbishop of Canterbury. Although his position is technically in the clergy, he is not personally religious. Bolt describes him considering “the Church as a job of administration.”
A servant of Sir Thomas More named Matthew. He is loyal to his master, but shares gossip about with everyone who asks. The same actor who plays the Common Man plays him.
A man who rows boats up and down the Thames. The same actor as the Common Man plays him.
Innkeeper / Publican
Also referred to as the Publican. He runs the inn where Rich and Cromwell meet to plot Thomas More’s downfall at the end of Act One. The same actor who plays the Common Man plays the Innkeeper.
The man who oversees Thomas More while he is in prison. The same actor as the Common Man plays him.
The head juror in the trial of Thomas More. The same actor as the Common Man plays him.
The executioner of Thomas More. The same actor as the Common Man plays him.