Eliot sought to combine his poetic talent with the form of drama in this excellent and outstanding text. It is easy to see the massive influence that poetry has on this play, as there are only two sections that are written in verse, which are Thomas's Christmas sermon and the so-called "apologies" of the Knights to the audience. Apart from this, the rest of the characters speak in verse which is very powerful and is poetic in its intensity. Note, for example, the following quote from the opening speech of the Chorus: Now I fear disturbance of the quiet seasons:
Winter shall come bringing death from the sea,
Ruinous spring shall beat at our doors,
Root and shoot shall eat our eyes and our ears,
Disastrous summer burn up the beds of our streams
And the poor shall wait for another decaying October.
There is no set rhyme scheme for these lines, and no set, regular rhtythm, but it is clear from their cadence and their flow that poetry is the medium that Eliot chooses to use to have his characters express their thoughts, feelings and emotion. One way in which Eliot brings out the artistic features of the poetic form therefore is through the exclusive use of verse for the words of the majority of characters, and the powerful imagery that their words use to paint vivid pictures for the audience of what is happening in the play. The above quote uses internal rhyme in "Root and shoot" and also alliteration in "burn up the beds," just two poetic techniques that highlight the use of poetry within the overall genre of drama that the play represents. What Is Murder In The Cathedral?
Murder in the Cathedral is a poetic drama by T. S. Eliot and was first performed in 1935.
It tells the story of the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket, which happened in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.
Murder in the Cathedral was written during the rise of Fascism in mainland Europe, which began a few years before World War II.
As the play deals with opposing authority, it’s often thought to be politically-relevant to the time it was written, and some readers believed that it was encouraging people to oppose the Nazi regime (in particular, its subversion and distortion of Christian beliefs).
What Makes Murder in the Cathedral A Poetic Drama?
Well, Murder in the Cathedral is written in verse, and is meant to be performed aloud rather than read in silence. Some parts of the drama are even written in rhyming couplets:
Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain: Temptation shall not come in this kind again. The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason. As the text’s main themes are power and religion - both of which are quite serious themes - Murder in the Cathedral pretty much lends itself to being a drama. It was performed in theaters like a drama, too! T S Eliot's imposing poetic drama "Murder in the Cathedral ' which enjojed a seven months' season in London last year, was performed in Melbourne for the first time last night The religious appui - tcnanccs-incense and Gregorian chants with which Miss Eileen O Keeto and the Standard Players chose to heighten the ecclesiastical effect, might suggest that a church would have provided a khidllcr setting for the play than the stage of the Garrick Theatre, but, such preferences apart, producer and players may be warmly congratulated upon a deeply mov- ing and thoroughly competent perfoim ance, which the public will have furthci opportunity to enjoy to-night and to- món ow night No finer impersonation of Thomas Becket could be. desired than that provided by Mr Trank Brooks, who, by intelligent and well-timed speech and studied gesture and depoitment, contrived to build up a noble, giaclous, and rational flguie Eliot s lovely English verse, freed in this play from those traces of obscurantism which cloud so much of his other woik, was given clear and dramatic expression, and the poet's meaning, plain enough in the text was made doubly...
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