A Man for All Seasons

Inciting Event: Thomas’s encounter with the cardinal. This is his first brush with the conflict in the film. Up until this point we have been in Thomas’s Normal world—he’s been at home talking with his family and friends.

First Plot Point: With his appointment as Lord Chancellor, Thomas becomes irreversibly ensnared in the conflict. In this position, he will be expected to give his opinion on the king’s divorce and remarriage and will suffer severe consequences if he does not consent to it.

First Pinch Point: The king visits Thomas. Not only does this scene ratchet up the tension, but it nicely foreshadows the ending as King Henry bellows that it is treachery for anyone to say he is married.

Midpoint: Thomas meets with Cromwell and refuses to support the divorce, explain his reasons, or give an opinion. This is the turning point in the story as everyone goes against Thomas. The boatmen refuse to row him home and his friend Norfolk abandons him.

Second Pinch Point: Thomas is imprisoned. This might seem like a good Third Plot Point, but Thomas’s reaction isn’t strong enough for it to be a “dark moment.” Things don’t get truly bad until later.

Third Plot Point: Alice, Meg, and Will visit Thomas—to persuade him to sign the oath. This is definitely Thomas’s low point, as he realizes the impact of his actions. His family is endangered, and he has alienated his wife.

Climax : Thomas’ court trial.

Climactic Moment: For the first time in the film, Thomas, realizing he cannot save his own life despite his integrity and character, shares his opinions. Though he does not speak a word about the king’s marriage, he makes it clear that because it was not sanctioned by the pope, he does not agree with it. The jury finds Thomas guilty of treason.

Resolution: Just before his death, Thomas forgives the executioner and states he is at peace with his fate, because he knows where he is going.

Comments: This story is pretty well-structured, but the negative character arc with Richard Rich could have been so much more than it was. You definitely see him change from the lowly young man who falls in the mud and laments the “loss of his innocence” to the finely dressed governor of Wales who perjures himself with little hesitation, but there’s little development in between. The ending also felt abrupt—there was scarcely any Resolution after the Climactic Moment in the courtroom.

(Submitted by Brenna Smith.)

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