Robert Bolt

In: English and Literature

Submitted By shaneelah97
Words 1580
Pages 7
Explore the significance of the elements of political protest in this extract. Remember to include in your answer relevant detailed analysis of the ways Bolt has shaped meanings.

In this extract from A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt carefully constructs language and visual effect for the audience to explore political themes, including the nature of power and its relationship to the individual, notions of justice, and guilt. The choice of a trial scene also allows an examination of the entrapment of the individual at the hands of a ruthless state. From the start of the extract the playwright's language and register seems to befit the setting of the scene in terms of its historical context and being in a court of law, with phrases such as "betokened" and "traitorously". This provides a convincing scene for the audience, in which Bolt can explore more universal political ideas.
First, Bolt examines the nature of power through the language he chooses, particularly with regard to the power invested in the prosecutor. For example, Cromwell's charge against More includes three examples of tautology: "traitorously and maliciously", "deny and deprive" and "undoubted certain". The use of excessive emotive language and rhetorical devices demonstrates Cromwell's ability to launch an emphatic and powerful charge revealing his bullying and perhaps also his lust for power. The fact that Bolt gives the prosecutor in a court such a facility with language gives Cromwell power and authority in the court, leaving the defendant in some ways at a disadvantage. Indeed, directors staging this scene could emphasise Bolt's stage direction of 'formal' to indicate how the words should be delivered to show the linguistic strength Cromwell has. Bolt packs Cromwell's speech full of rhetorical devices. Much is made of the word 'silence', upon which More stands. Cromwell's points are driven…...

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