Discussion Questions for Amazing Grace
- In the poker game, William Wilberforce withdraws when his opponent offers his slave as part of the bet. Why did William find that action so offensive?
- After asking for his slave to be brought to him as part of the bet, this man claims that he, in buying the man, did a good thing and spared him a great deal of misery by preventing him from being brought to the Americas to harvest cotton. How would you respond to such an argument?
- Wilberforce mentions to his butler that although his political career was showing promise and he was quite successful, he found that spider webs and quiet days spend on wet grass were more appealing to him. What did Wilberforce mean by this? Also (as a follow up to the first question) What does it mean that “God found me [Wilberforce]”
- What is the significance of Wilberforce dilemma between a life of politics or a life of religion? How does Wilberforce resolve this difficulty? What people helped him to make this decision?
- What is the significance of the song “Amazing Grace” for Wilberforce’s work to abolish the slave trade? Who is John Newton? What did he mean when, nearing the end of the movie, he states, “now I see” and, ironically, is now physically blind?
- How could Wilberforce work against the slave trade when his country and its laws supported it? In other words, what served as his foundation from which to criticize and augment the laws and operations of the British Empire? [Follow up] Could Wilberforce have made such a thorough critique of the slave trade without this foundation?
- Wilberforce spent his life trying to reform his nation. What are some practices or characteristics of the culture of your birth or of this culture that you find troubling? Do you think that these things could be corrected? If so, how?
- Though Wilberforce is rightly credited for his work in ending the slave trade, many others inspired and encourage him along the way. Who are the people in your life that have encouraged and helped you along your journey?