The three silences of Sir Thomas More
A pragmatic perspective
The paper discusses three instances of silence in the life and writings of Sir Thomas More in terms of conversational and thematic silence. The first is the silence of the London citizenry in More’s History of Richard the Third (1513). The second is the House of Commons’ response of silence, in 1523, to Cardinal Wolsey’s request to provide him, the Chancellor, with a substantial grant for state affairs; at that time, More was Speaker of the House. The third is More’s fatal silence when he was required to take an oath supporting Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, and his refusal to discuss Henry’s break from the Pope and the Roman Church.
Keywords: performatives, silence, speech acts, oaths, Thomas More
Published online: 16 June 2016
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Cited by 2 other publications
Kurzon, Dennis & Barbara Kryk-Kastovsky
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