A man for all seasons- every man has his price


"Every man has his price" Discuss with
reference to 'A man for all seasons.'

In the play, 'A man for all Seasons', Rich presents us with the idea that 'every man has his price'. The play looks at how every character except More, is able to compromise their principles in exchange for something that benefits them. This shows us that at the end of the day we all, other than a few, will only be looking out for our own self-interest. Money is probably the most common thing that would be offered to someone to compromise his or her principles for example. Money is a benefit and most people, being human, will accept it, as it would be in their self-interest to do so. The play gives us a range of characters that have different prices, most of which are met, and shows the benefits gained.
The Common Man represents us. He is as relevant in the times of the play as he is now. He is typical of us and just wants enough money to get by with, without getting into dangerous situations. He also shows how we will manipulate a situation to suit our own needs and wants.
The Common Man shows self-interest on a small scale. Take for example when More is using the Common Man's boat and the issue of payment comes up. He asks More to 'make it worth his while". This shows us how most would act in the same situation. It shows that all people have a price even if it is on a small scale. The Boatman also goes as far to hint about his 'young wife'. By mentioning her, he hopes that he will be tipped more money. He only wants enough money to get by with. This is relevant to us as we would bend or stretch the truth and his principles in order to benefit ourselves.
The Common Man will only go as far as he knows it safe to go. He won't get himself into any dangerous situations, as he wants to protect himself. After both Chapuys and Rich try to find out information on More, the Common Man declares that he will go 'deaf blind and dumb' as soon as he 'can't touch the bottom'. That sums up the way we think. Like us, he will try and benefit himself as much as he can without actually putting himself at risk.
As the jailer, the common man comes across as selfish, although you can see the reasons why. You also realise that you would act similarly in situations like that. More is in jail and is saying goodbye for the last time to his wife and child, two people that he has the greatest love for. The Common Man as the jailer has to remove Alice and Meg from the cell and when More asks him for more time he tries to make excuses and calls himself a 'plain, simple man' who just wants 'to keep out of trouble'. Once again, he puts himself first, as he knows that this could turn out to be a potentially dangerous situation for himself.
The Common Man only has his own interests at heart. There are many examples of this in the play, one of which being when Chapuys is getting information out of him and he admits he only will 'serve one' namely himself. Another example of this is when More tells him about the reduced wages. The Common Man immediately tells him that he will be unable to stay. Again he comes across as selfish and fickle.
Our first impressions of Rich are ones that make us see him as an intelligent, ambitious young man who wants power, prestige and money. He also comes across as fickle. It is ironic that he is the one that makes the comment that 'every man has his price' and that it is he that betrays himself the most as well as betraying More. Rich only seems interested in somewhat trivial matters compared to others. When Rich is talking to More about what money could buy he suddenly mentions 'some decent clothes'. He seems obsessed with his image. This is just as important to him as More's principles are to