Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

Topics: Henry II of England, Canterbury, T. S. Eliot Pages: 9 (2682 words) Published: February 26, 2011
Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot - MonkeyNotes by

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Murder in the Cathedral

T. S. Eliot

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Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot - MonkeyNotes by

The play is set in two locations, the Cathedral of Canterbury and the Archbishop's hall, as they existed in medieval England. The play opens at the point of Becket's arrival in Canterbury, at……..

Major Characters Thomas Becket - the Archbishop of Canterbury and the protagonist of the play. His character is basically drawn from historical sources during the later part of…… Henry II - the king who is never presented on stage, but whose invisible presence towers over……. Minor Characters The Women of Canterbury in the Chorus - they represent the voice of the common person. They sum up the past, bring the situation into the present, and express a lurking fear of Becket's doom, which the audience shares. The Three Priests - they are genuinely worried about Becket's well being. They hold Becket……. The Four Tempters - the most important minor characters. They throw sidelights on …… The Four Knights - Reginald Fitz Urse, Sir High de Morville, William de Traci and Richard……. The Messenger - he breaks the news of Becket's arrival back home.

The conflict exists between the King and the Pope; that is between temporal power and spiritual power. Although the King of England and the Pope never appear on the stage, their forces clash throughout the play. Protagonist - The protagonist is Thomas Becket, who represents the church and who….. Antagonist - The antagonist is the state (or King Henry II) whose casual remark that ……… Climax - In the course of the play, the climax of the action occurs with the temptation by…….. Outcome - The play ends in tragedy with the murder of Thomas Becket; thus, the ……. NOTE Murder in the Cathedral was written for a ritualistic presentation. Hence, the reader does not find elaborate treatment of these components of the plot. The whole play has an economy of scenes and……..

The play can be said to begin at the climax, for the tension and fear imposed by the state have reached the people at the lowest level. At the beginning of the play, there is a sense of doom that hangs heavy in the air. Everyone fears that Becket’s return will result in tragedy, clearly foreshadowing the end of the play from the very beginning., Inc. Copyright © 1997-1999, All Rights Reserved. No further distribution without the written consent of, Inc.


Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot - MonkeyNotes by

The plot centers on the changed friendship between King Henry II and Thomas Becket. Henry has raised Becket to the post of Chancellor and later makes him the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Chancellor's position is that of the first subject in the Kingdom, controlling the ecclesiastical patronage of the King. The post of Archbishop is the highest religious head, next to the Pope. After becoming the Archbishop, Becket stops supporting the radical changes the King wants to introduce in England. Becket opposes the King’s thirst for power, as he tries to raise the standard of the Crown higher than that of the Pope. Before the play begins, Becket has undergone a transformation and has started living a very pious life, giving up all the enjoyment he...
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