A Man for All Seasons

by

Robert Bolt

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Man for All Seasons can help.

Duke of Norfolk Character Analysis

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 Supremacy, but while Cromwell has malicious intentions, Norfolk is genuinely concerned for More’s wellbeing. He is not particularly smart or thoughtful.

Duke of Norfolk Quotes in A Man for All Seasons

The A Man for All Seasons quotes below are all either spoken by Duke of Norfolk or refer to Duke of Norfolk. 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

Norfolk:…d’you propose to meet the King disguised as a parish clerk? A parish clerk, my Lord Chancellor! You dishonor the King and his office!
More: The service of God is not a dishonor to any office. Believe me, my friend, I do not belittle the honor his Majesty is doing me.

Related Characters: Sir Thomas More (speaker), Duke of Norfolk (speaker), King Henry VIII
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

The Apostolic Success of the Pope is—….Why it’s a theory, yes; you can’t see it; can’t touch it; it’s a theory. But what matters to me is not whether it’s true or not but that I believe it to be true, or rather, not that I believe it, but that I believe it…I trust I make myself obscure?

Related Characters: Sir Thomas More (speaker), Duke of Norfolk
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

Norfolk: But he makes no noise, Mr. Secretary; he’s silent, why not leave him silent?
Cromwell: Not being a man of letters, Your Grace, you perhaps don’t realize the extent of his reputation. This “silence” of his is bellowing up and down Europe!

Related Characters: Duke of Norfolk (speaker), Thomas Cromwell (speaker), Sir Thomas More
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

Norfolk: …The one fixed point in a world of changing friendships is that Thomas More will not give in!
More: To me it has to be, for that’s myself! Affection goes as deep in me as you think, but only God is love right through, Howard; and that’s my self.
Norfolk: And who are you? Goddammit, man, it’s disproportionate! We’re supposed to be the arrogant ones, the proud, splenetic ones—and we’ve all given in! Why must you stand out? You’ll break my heart.

Related Characters: Sir Thomas More (speaker), Duke of Norfolk (speaker)
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

More: The nobility of England, my lord, would have snored through the Sermon on the Mount. But you’ll labor like Thomas Aquinas over a rat-dog’s pedigree. Now what’s the name of those distorted creatures you’re all breeding at the moment?

Norfolk: Water spaniels!
More: And what would you do with a water spaniel that was afraid of water? You’d hang it! Well, as a spaniel is to water, so is a man to his own self. I will not give in because I oppose it—I do—not my pride, not my spleen, nor any other of my appetites but I do—I! Is there no single sinew in the midst of this that serves no appetite of Norfolk’s but is just Norfolk? There is! Give that some exercise, my lord!

Related Characters: Sir Thomas More (speaker), Duke of Norfolk (speaker)
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:

Norfolk: Oh, confound all this…I’m not a scholar, as Master Cromwell never tires of pointing out, and frankly I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not. But damn it, Thomas, look at those names…You know those men! Can’t you do what I did, and come with us, for fellowship?
More: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

Related Characters: Sir Thomas More (speaker), Duke of Norfolk (speaker)
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

Norfolk: Have you anything to say?
More: Yes. To avoid this I have taken every path my winding wits would find. Now that the court has determined to condemn me, God knoweth how, I will discharge my mind…concerning my indictment and the King’s title. The indictment is grounded in an Act of Parliament which is directly repugnant to the Law of God. The King in Parliament cannot bestow the Supremacy of the Church because it is a Spiritual Supremacy! And more to this the immunity of the Church is promised both in Magna Carta and the King’s own Coronation Oath!
Cromwell: Now we plainly see that you are malicious!
More: Not so, Master Secretary! I am the King’s true subject, and pray for him and all the realm…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…I have, since I came into prison, been several times in such a case that I thought to die within the hour, and I thank Our Lord I was never sorry for it, but rather sorry when it passed. And therefore, my poor body is at the King’s pleasure. Would God my death might do him some good…Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood—but because I would not bend to the marriage!

Related Characters: Sir Thomas More (speaker), Duke of Norfolk (speaker), Thomas Cromwell (speaker), King Henry VIII
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire A Man for All Seasons LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Man for All Seasons PDF

Duke of Norfolk Character Timeline in A Man for All Seasons

The timeline below shows where the character Duke of Norfolk appears in A Man for All Seasons. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Duke of Norfolk, More’s wife Alice, and More’s daughter Margaret enter arguing about Norfolk’s recent hunting trip. Norfolk... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Now that they are on the topic of Thomas Cromwell, Norfolk reveals to the group that Cromwell has been promoted to the Cardinal’s Secretary. Everyone is... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...eleven at night. As More leaves he sees that Rich is unhappy. More suggests that Norfolk employ Rich in some clerical position. Rich thanks More, and More once again tells him,... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
...two women want to know why Wolsey called More to meet. They tell More that Norfolk thinks More will be Chancellor if Wolsey dies. More tells them he doesn’t want to... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...what Rich is doing in Hampton, and Rich explains that he is currently working for Norfolk, who came to the castle to hunt with the King. Cromwell comments on changing fortunes;... (full context)
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
The scene transitions to More’s house. Alice, Margaret, and Norfolk are looking for More. The King is arriving soon on an unofficial visit (that everyone... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
...is. He then asks Margaret if she can dance, and praises her legs, while mocking Norfolk’s “wrestler’s leg.” Despite this, the King argues that he could beat Norfolk in a fight.... (full context)
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
...of his followers lie to him because he is king and they respect him, like Norfolk, or else because they see the ways that he can benefit them, like Cromwell. But... (full context)
Act 2
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Roper enters excitedly, announcing that Norfolk has arrived with news. Chapuys quietly pretends to leave, but stays onstage, listening. Norfolk announces... (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 and power and “the respect... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
More asks Norfolk if he will repeat what More has said. Norfolk says no, and More points out... (full context)
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Later, presumably in the palace (although it is not stated), Norfolk and Cromwell talk in a private corner. Norfolk wants to leave More to his silence,... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Cromwell believes More can be blackmailed for once taking a bribe. Norfolk believes that More is too upstanding to have ever accepted a bribe, but Cromwell brings... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
Before Norfolk leaves, he tells Cromwell that he isn’t interested in persecuting More. Cromwell tells Norfolk that... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
Once Norfolk has left, Cromwell and Rich begin to scheme. Rich explains he is “only anxious to... (full context)
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...is upset that he cannot get a boat to take him home. He runs into Norfolk, who criticizes his behavior. Norfolk thinks it is fine for More to put himself in... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
More begins to insult Norfolk, in an attempt to end their friendship. He begins with mild insults, but eventually accuses... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
...the play. Cromwell will be found guilty of High Treason and executed in 1540, and Norfolk will be found guilty of High Treason in 1547, although he will not be executed... (full context)
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
At one o’clock in the morning, the Jailer wakes More up. Cromwell, Norfolk, and Thomas Cranmer have come to visit. Cromwell presents More with the Act of Succession,... (full context)
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Man’s Law vs. God’s Law Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Norfolk is frustrated by More’s silence. He argues that he, along with many others, have already... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Conscience, Integrity, and Reputation Theme Icon
Frustrated, Cromwell, Norfolk, and Cranmer eventually leave. Cromwell asks the Jailer if he has heard More say anything... (full context)
Financial vs. Moral Richness Theme Icon
The Meaning of Silence Theme Icon
Norfolk begins the trial by charging More with High Treason. However, he makes it clear that... (full context)