A Man for All Seasons

by

Robert Bolt

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Catherine of Aragon Character Analysis

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 of Spain, and so her marriage to Arthur was strategic—it was mean to unite the two countries. After Arthur died, she was married to Henry to preserve the political union. Because the Bible specifically forbids a man from “laying with” his brother’s wife, Henry had to write to the Pope to get his marriage approved. Later, after Catherine had been unable to give birth to a son, he tried to divorce her on the grounds that the Pope’s approval didn’t count, and the marriage had never been legitimate. She never appears onstage.

Catherine of Aragon Quotes in A Man for All Seasons

The A Man for All Seasons quotes below are all either spoken by Catherine of Aragon or refer to Catherine of Aragon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A Man for All Seasons published in 1990.
Act 1 Quotes

Chapuys: I have a personal letter for you.
More: From who?
Chapuys: My master, the King of Spain. You will take it?
More: I will not lay a finger on it.
Chapuys: It is in no way an affair of State. It expresses my master’s admiration for the stand which you and Bishop Fisher of Rochester have taken over the so-called divorce of Queen Catherine.
More: I have taken no stand!
Chapuys: But your views, Sir Thomas, are well known—
More: My views are much guessed at…

Chapuys: But, Sir Thomas, your views—
More: Are well known you say. It seems my loyalty to my King is less so!

Related Characters: Sir Thomas More (speaker), Chapuys (speaker), King Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
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Catherine of Aragon Character Timeline in A Man for All Seasons

The timeline below shows where the character Catherine of Aragon appears in A Man for All Seasons. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
...Rome, in which the King requests that the Pope annul his marriage to his wife, Catherine. More doesn’t believe the marriage can be lawfully annulled, but he refuses to say so.... (full context)
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
...the King to have a son. Wolsey counters that More is praying for a miracle. Catherine is barren, but Anne is not, and so it is in the best interest of... (full context)
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
...that the King of Spain will be insulted by any insult paid to his relative, Catherine. Chapuys wonders if More and the Cardinal parted “amicably” and “in agreement,” which is his... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
...signs, letters, or pamphlets will count as treason. He tells More that anyone who claims Catherine is his wife is a liar and a traitor. In a final gesture, the King... (full context)
Act 2
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
...is really here on business. Chapuys is upset that More is allowing Henry to divorce Catherine, and argues that More, by being associated with the King, is being corrupted by his... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
More refuses to answer whether or not he sees Catherine as the legitimate queen. Norfolk is confused as to why More would give up everything—money... (full context)
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
...it is just a thank-you to More for taking a stand against Henry’s divorce from Catherine. More will not take the letter, which he fears will incriminate him, and insists he... (full context)
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
...Cromwell presents More with the Act of Succession, which states that the King’s marriage to Catherine was unlawful because the Pope didn’t have the power to approve it, along with a... (full context)