The making of a martyr is composed of many things, including death. Sir Thomas More only became a martyr recently, but he died over 400 years ago, and did so in much controversy. The dissension over his death has spawned the play A Man for All Seasons, in which the author, Robert Bolt, depicts his view of the tragic progression to More's death. In this play, King Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, and Sir Thomas More himself are responsible for the death of More. Although other characters have supporting roles that help in this, none play as important of a part as the four characters above in the bringing of More to his death.
In the play King Henry wants to divorce his barren wife to marry a new love. He feels Moreâ€™s publicized acceptance of the divorce would allow it to proceed without immense public revolt. King Henry promises More, â€œnot to pursue me [More] on this matter [the divorce]â€(54), but after More accepted the Chancellor position, King Henry began badgering him to help him with the affair. The badgering and erratic behaviour became more violent towards More as he perpetually declined to comment on the divorce. Despite that King Henry promised again to More, â€œThere, you have my word â€“ Iâ€™ll leave you out of itâ€ (56), he hired Cromwell to pressure More into making a statement. King Henry became so obsessed with trying to achieve Moreâ€™s acceptance that it was said he â€œWants either Sir Thomas More to bless his marriage or Sir Thomas More destroyedâ€ (119). King Henry with his lust for new love took his unrelenting iron fist and thrust down Sir Thomas Moreâ€™s throat his last breath of life. But a King without a council is powerless; there are others who are accountable for Sir Thomas Moreâ€™s death.
Though it may be argued that Thomas Cromwell and Richard Rich are simply pawns for the king to play, every man is responsible to follow his conscious.