Read Sir Thomas More by Anthony Munday William Shakespeare Online


MESSENGER. My lord, ill news; and worse, I fear, will follow, If speedily it be not looked unto: The city is in an uproar, and the Mayor Is threatened, if he come out of his house. A number poor artificers are up In arms and threaten to avenge their wrongs....

Title : Sir Thomas More
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781425003883
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 292 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sir Thomas More Reviews

  • Melora
    2018-10-28 18:41

    I'm not sure how much of this Shakespeare is actually supposed to have written, but it's on my list for the “All of Shakespeare in a Year” challenge, so I read it. And, to be fair, it's not terrible. Beats King Edward III or The Two Gentlemen of Verona, that's for sure. The individual components of the story – the riot and its fall-out, the family scenes, the noble choice of death over moral compromise – are all fine, but they don't seem to hold together in any sort of compelling whole. It's more like “scenes from a life,” but there's no dramatic tension. The anti-immigrant riots seemed particularly topical, but the rioters, once in custody, are so thoroughly repentant and content to be paying the price (hanging) for disturbing the King's Peace as to be... disappointing. While it may have served a didactic purpose to have miscreants so fully recognize the error of their disobedient ways, a little outrage over their “betrayal” by More (who promised them that if they surrendered he would obtain pardons for them) would have seemed more plausible. The family scenes, while establishing More as a Nice Guy, who is neither stuffy nor moralizing, are... pretty dull. It seems to me that a big problem is the choice (however politically prudent or necessary from the perspective of the acting company) to Not describe at all the articles of the king which More refused to endorse (presumably the Oath of Supremacy, declaring Henry VIII head of the C of E, or the Oath of Succession). When a play is about a man choosing to die for his religious convictions, failing to mention those convictions at All leaves kind of a gaping HOLE. We're left with a pleasant guy choosing to die with complete placidity rather than sign some paper which isn't even worth mentioning. That's the kind of storytelling challenge that even some lines by Shakespeare aren’t going to fix.

  • Joseph R.
    2018-11-12 19:40

    While browsing through one of the Shakespeare bookstores in Stratford-upon-Avon this volume caught my eye. I had never heard that Shakespeare wrote a play on Thomas More. After looking through it at the store it was clear he hadn't written the entire play. He was one of about four other authors and he revised an already prepared text. Loving St. Thomas More as I do, I couldn't resist and bought the book.The book is part of the Arden Shakespeare series, a scholarly series designed to support both literary research and theatrical presentation. The introduction is 120 pages, covering the history of writing the play, prominent themes in the play, sources used by the playwrights, performance history, and staging advice. It's quite comprehensive if occasionally bogged down in critical literary jargon, for example this passage concerning a scene where Thomas More and his servant Randall swap clothes to see if they can fool Erasmus into thinking Randall is More: The exchange of costumes for the purpose of metatheatrical role-playing asserts the nature of the play itself as an enactment for the commercial theatre, and places the institution of theatre in relation to the play's subject-matter, the learned scholar. The low social and intellectual status of the actor of More in relation to the role he is playing corresponds with the social and intellectual status of the role of Randall - though the play insists repeatedly that More is himself of humble origin. [p. 78]Fortunately the historical comments are straightforward and interesting. The four or five authors used various sources on More's life, some favoring More and some despising him. More was still a controversial topic when the play was written (around 1600), with Queen Elizabeth on the throne. More had refused to acknowledge the authority of Henry VIII over the church in England and implicitly his marriage to his second wife (the mother of Elizabeth). The play was reviewed by a censor who made many suggestions and deletions, all of which readers can see in the main text.The text of the play itself is a critical edition, with extensive footnotes clarifying who wrote what and explaining the meaning of the archaic words and phrases. It requires a little patience to read. I read the play before I read the introduction. I definitely recommend that reading order since the introduction discusses details of events in the play, events I was unfamiliar with from other sources. I would have been somewhat lost in the introduction without reading the play first.The play is in roughly two halves. The first half deals with More's rise to power in England, eventually becoming Chancellor. The main incident depicted is a near-riot of lower class workers. They want to burn the homes of foreigners in London who have the favor of the king and have been putting natives out of work. More, as a sheriff of London, speaks to the crowd and quells their anger. His service in averting the riot is what brings him political success. [Historically, this incident is almost twenty years before More becomes chancellor and lots of other events and actions contributed to his rise.]The second half deals with his life in court, his refusal of the Oath of Supremacy (never named or detailed in the play), and his eventual execution. Throughout both halves, his jovial nature, both in personal affairs and as a lawyer/political figure, is demonstrated by many witty little scenes. If A Man for All Seasons is the straight-laced drama of More's life and death, this is much more like a comedy. Not that the play makes fun of More, but it presents his penchant for jests, for being witty in both the smart and the funny senses of the term.The play is a little uneven in that it moves from episode to episode in More's life without a strong sense of connection between the scenes. Various court room scenes tell us more about More's character but do not point us to his eventual decision and fate. I still found it fascinating reading and would not mind seeing a stage production of this play (which is the proper way to experience a play, after all).The book also has several appendices with textual analysis of the additions and deletions to the play, a close look at authorship of various parts, and some passages from source materials. I only skimmed through this part since it was very scholarly and not my main interest.

  • Carol
    2018-10-30 19:17

    I gave it two stars with the Goodreads meaning of 'It was Ok.' More is depicted as a highly respected, deeply loved public figure. There were a few elevated speeches and a few funny scenes in between prosaic parts. I admired the serenity that More carried when his fortunes turned downward. Great mean are still musicians, else the world lies; They learn low strains after the notes that rise. This tickled me: More plays the authoritative figure questioning a man who charged with crime.MORE. Sirrah, sirrah, you are a busy dangerous ruffian.FAULKNER. Ruffian!MORE. How long have you worn this hair?FAULKNER. I have worn this hair ever since I was born.MORE. You know that's not my question, but how longHath this shag fleece hung dangling on they head?FAULKNER. How long, my lord? why, sometimes thus long, sometimes lower, as the Fates and humors please.MORE. So quick, sir, with me, ha? I see, good fellow,Thou lovest plain dealing. Sirrah, tell me now,When were you last at barbers? how long timeHave you upon your head worn this shag hair?FAULKNER. My lord, Jack Faulkner tells no Aesops fables: troth, I was not at barbers this three years; I have not been cut nor will not be cut, upon a foolish vow, which, as the Destinies shall direct, I am sworn to keep.

  • Sammy
    2018-11-14 19:41

    A very good, thorough edition of this collaborative play from the 1600s, to which William Shakespeare contributed. The introduction does a good job of exploring both the play as a work, and also the complex situation that led to its creation. The main text has a battle on its hands, since it's a very rare example of a play found in manuscript form, so words are missing, scenes are divided between authors or occasionally between original and censored texts, and so on. Very thoroughly done. And the thick appendices explore the nature of the text, which is very useful in this odd instance. Very glad the Arden Third Series has incorporated this into the body of Shakespeare scholarship, and looking forward to the rest of their high-quality run over the next few years.

  • Steve Hemmeke
    2018-11-18 23:18

    The play Sir Thomas More was not written by Shakespeare, but it seems he added some of his own touches and revisions to it, so it was included in the reading schedule I’m using to read through everything Shakespeare wrote in one year.This play focuses on More’s wisdom in resolving social and legal problems. He subdues a riot with persuasive words. His family life is peaceful and joyous. And his conscience is clear in not signing the articles the king asks for. The play doesn’t focus on the substance of those articles at all – doesn’t even tell us what they were – but only on More’s inability in his integrity to sign them, which would be hypocrisy. He goes to his death almost cheerfully – an expression of his faith in God.

  • R.
    2018-11-02 21:36

    For those who don't know, this is a collaborative work, to which Shakespeare only contributed a small amount. Much of the interest is scholarly, as we have the original manuscript in the various handwritings of the collaborators (and the censor), so this sheds considerable light on the nature of theatrical collaboration in Elizabethan theater. The value of this particular edition lies in the enormous introduction, extensive footnotes and numerous appendices.

  • Humphrey
    2018-11-10 18:37

    There's a reason why this play isn't much read. The reason is that it's not very good. The history of the text and the insight it provides into Elizabethan co-writing are fascinating, but the play itself is deeply uneven in quality of writing, sporadic in assemblage of plot, and thin in development of themes.

  • Ian
    2018-11-11 22:16

    I'm thinking this is more of a two-star read, but I marked a few reasonably good lines and I think the editor, John Jowett, did a great job with the critical materials so I'm giving it three. I wouldn't particularly recommend the play.

  • David
    2018-11-05 17:16

    The Shakespeare contributions are well-written but otherwise not worth your time, mediocre.

  • Chris
    2018-11-08 15:12

    Pretty good -- much more interesting than Henry 6 (all 3 Parts), although I don't know the history, and ignorance of More's fatal dispute definitely detracts.

  • Cindy Rollins
    2018-11-10 22:18

    This is one of the plays with uncertain attribution. The language was, indeed, unsteady but there were highlights when Thomas More spoke in iambic pentameter. I take those to be Shakespeare's words.

  • Hayley Lawton
    2018-10-30 19:19

    [3.5 stars]A very unique play, I enjoyed the era and the beautiful prose. The plot lacked some pace and structure, though.

  • Rachel (Sfogs)
    2018-11-03 15:30

    Well thank goodness someone could stop those stupid rioters!

  • Rose
    2018-10-27 22:14

    I feel like I need to look at the history of the time and who the real Sir Thomas More was before I properly understand what's going on.