There is no particular answer to this question since one can be considered a ordinary person even he actually commits his whole life to the people or even sacrifices his own life for the people while one can considered a hero by contributing a benefit to the people. In the epic poem “Beowulf”, the main character Beowulf is considered a hero by the people because he is courageous, intelligent, and physically stalwart. A fictional character can easily be honored as a hero because it is only the author’s assignment to make up a character that has one or some of the traits that will quality for a hero.
However, being able to find a hero that really exists in the real world is a difficult task since a person has to effectively show the people that he possesses one or several characteristics of a hero. After reading the drama “A Man For All Seasons” by Robert Bolt, the main character Sir Thomas More, former Lord Chancellor of England, can be considered a hero as the historical background makes his actions very distinctive. As More was a person born in England at the time near the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Reformation in England.
More was a nobleman, lawyer, humanist, writer, and he was also a long-time friend and favorite of the king in England that time, Henry VIII. More became the Lord Chancellor when Cardinal Wosley died in 1529. He is the one that nominates More to be the next Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII. As England had a distinct social class system and was ruled by an absolute monarch during that time, it made More a person that was highly educated, well-known, and politically powerful. These are all the basic characteristics that a hero should have other than big muscles or fighting skills.
The milieu and government system in England helped to shape More as a hero. Due to the fact that England is a Catholic country, most of the people in England are Roman Catholics, including King Henry VIII and More. In the drama, Chapuys was a diplomat who suggested that “More is a true son of the Church”. More also attempted to serve two masters, Henry and God, but this is proven to be a failure because at the end of the play More can choose to serve his King keep his life and lose his soul, or serve God to keep his soul and lose his life.
The only choice he left is to choose God. Also when More is in the Tower, he tells the executor that “friend, be not afraid of your office. You send me to God. He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to him”. This shows that even he is going to die, he still have faith in going to heaven. From the events shown above, it is clear that More a religious person that has faith in God and puts God in the first place. These are also some of the most important characteristics of a hero. The next series of heroic characteristics are demonstrated through More’s actions.
First, More is a lawyer and he trusts the law can protect individual and the society. To him the law was a forest in which he could hide and never be found. Thus, with this belief More took every action trying not to trap himself but rather be protected by the law. He avoided all events that may be misinterpreted as treason. This shows that More views the purpose of the law is to protect all people. This conveys the idea the More is interpreting the law as a tool for defense rather than taking advantage of the loopholes in the law to persecute others.
When More realized that the silver goblet that he received from the woman was a bribe he immediately got rid of it by giving it away to Rich as a gift. However, the goblet was later used against him but due to More’s actions, it held little substance. This shows that More was not greedy and was intelligent enough to predict what would happen to him. When King Henry VIII wanted his divorce to be supported by More, he said, “Because you are honest. What’s more to the purpose, you’re known to be honest. “.
This directly shows that More is a man with honesty as the King knows him for a long period of time. However, More resigned his job as a Lord Chancellor hoping to avoid the Act of Supremacy and escape the trouble of being tried for high treason. This demonstrates the integrity by keeping his ideology without breaking the law or upsetting the king. Unfortunately, More is still being tried for high treason. More is brave enough to face the trial even though he knows he will have no chance of getting out alive. He also urges his family to flee for safety reasons.
He knows what the trial’s outcome will be before he is in the trial because when he refuse to support Henry’s divorce, he already knows he will die for his belief. This illustrates that More is courageous to face the trial, he is also unselfish by sacrificing himself to protect his family. To be a hero like More, one should have all the heroic characteristics mentioned above. More possesses several characteristics that a hero should have: highly-educated, well-known, politically powerful, faithful, religious, considerate, intelligent, honest, integrity, courageous, not greedy, unselfish, and even willing to sacrifice himself for others.
These are all traits that other heroes should have. A hero like More will be considered as a political hero as he is a politician and his death was a result of political conflict with the authority. There is not even one person that is like More in the society nowadays due to the change in ideology. Taking the perspective as a people in the lower class during the Renaissance, one will definitely honor Sir Thomas More as a great hero for his impact made to the British History.