Thomas More Essay

Submitted By MCTerefenko
Words: 952
Pages: 4

The case of Sir Thomas More is an interesting one in the course of history. Sir Thomas is faced with a moral dilemma that will determine the outcome of his life. More, chancellor of England and a strong Christian believer is forced to choose between his close friend, King Henry VIII, and the Lord his God. He is forced with this decision when King Henry VIII required that his subjects submit to the Oath of Succession and The Act of Supremacy. The Act gives Henry VIII full authority over the Catholic Church. Therefore, distancing England from Rome, the Pope would no longer be the head of the Church. He wanted to do this because he was not able to have a son with his wife Catherine of Aragon. Without having a son he would not have an heir to his throne. In order to have an heir he wanted to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn. Because England was a Christian nation, the only way to have a divorce was to have it sanctioned by the Pope. However, the Pope refused to sanction a divorce. The Act of Supremacy was his solution to this problem, naming himself as the Supreme Head of the Church in England, breaking his ties with the Catholic Church. The Oath affirmed the validity of his divorce to Catherine of Aragon and validated his new marriage to Anne Boleyn. Sir Thomas More refused to submit to both The Act of Supremacy and the Oath of Succession. Sir Thomas More was charged with high treason because of this. Rhetoric is persuasion and the art of logical argument. During the trial Sir Thomas utilizes this principle of rhetoric to make his case against King Henry’s divorce. Sir Thomas More is using this principle of rhetoric when he says,
“In good faith, Master Rich, I am sorrier for your perjury than for mine own peril, and you shall understand that neither I nor any man else to my knowledge ever took you to be a man of such credit in any matter of importance I or any other would at any time vouchsafe to communicate with you (More, 1).”
In this quote Sir Thomas More starts out by saying that he feels sorry for Master Rich because he is lying about this Oath and going against God when he claims to be a Christian. Sir Thomas More knows that because of this Master Rich’s soul will be condemned while his own with go to Heaven. Also he is making the point that Master Rich has never been a person of trust or honor to him or to anyone else, so why would he be seen as a credible source now. Sir Thomas More utilizes the principle of rhetoric here to shame the people of the court for condemning him for high treason,
“And if I had done so, indeed, my lords, as Master Rich hath sworn, seeing it was spoken but in familiar, secret talk, nothing affirming, and only in putting of cases, without other displeasant circumstances, it cannot justly be taken to be spoken maliciously; and where there is no malice there can be no offense. And over this I can never think, my lords, that so many worthy bishops, so many noble personages, and many other worshipful, virtuous, wise, and well-learned, men as at the making of the law were in Parliament assembled, ever ment to have any man punished by death in whom there could be found no malice. (More, 1).”

Sir Thomas More here states that he had said nothing publicly about refusing to submit to the Act of Supremacy and the Oath of Succession but rather just kept silent. Without having said anything at all there cannot be any evidence or witnesses against him. More, then explained to the court that malice has