Moral relativism is the idea that principles, ethics, and viewpoints of right or wrong are supported by culture. Moral relativism is subject to an individual person’s preference. Moral relativism says that principles are different for each and every person based on what is “best” for him and the circumstances of his life at the time. Absolutism is the idea that there are moral standards that are true in all circumstances and should be followed by all. These two ideas are exact opposites. While moral relativism believes that choices should be made based on personal beliefs and one’s conscience, absolutism demands that all decisions are made based on the set standards that are laid out already.
In Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons, moral relativism and absolutism are recurrently spotted in the characters. Moral relativism can be observed in King Henry who believes that there are different truths and laws held for each individual. For this reason, he is going against the church and getting a divorce. Sir Thomas More conveys his beliefs of absolutism to Henry and all whom he is around. He is a man who strongly believes in living by the law, which, of course, involves assenting to the Bible.
Henry believes in moral relativism. He agrees with the laws in the Bible to a certain extent, but also believes that he can do what he wants and that there can be
exceptions to the rules. While goading Sir Thomas More to follow him, Henry shows his thoughts on the situation by exclaiming, “It is my bounden duty to put away the queen, and all the Popes back to St. Peter shall not come between me and my duty!” (54). Henry is explaining to More that his sense of right and wrong is telling him that it is his duty to continue in the divorce. Henry feels that because he thinks it is right to get a divorce, no part of the church or the Bible will get in his way. He feels an exception should be made for him. Henry knows that most of...