Essay on Murder in the Cathedral
Murder in the Cathedral is the one of the most famous play of British Literature. We know T.S Eliot as a perfect poet but he is as perfect as in drama, because his poetic drama Murder in the Cathedral is known all over the world. Murder in Cathedral is poetic drama because it has rhythm and poetic language, which is not easy to create. The subject of the play based on the murder of Arch Bishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. When Eliot was writing this play, he read the notes of Edward Grim, because Edward Grim was a clerk in Cambridge and he visited Canterbury Cathedral ion 26th of December in 1170 and he was the only eyewitness of the murder of Thomas Becket. The play was written in 1935 and in the same year, it was performed in the Federal Theatre Project in America. The Murder in the Cathedral was written for Canterbury Festivals and performed in that festivals, and the play is not only famous with its poetic language, but also it was written for political and religious aspects, now I will discuss and compare the religious and the political aspects of the play with historical event that play is based on. First of all, Murder in the Cathedral is not only historical play but also religious play. The play gives details of political in that time and also gives moral lessons about religion and faith. According to real history, Thomas Becket came from very poor family and he was born in his father Gilbert Becket house in Cheapside. It’s not absolutely known, but it’s believed that, he was born in between the years 1115 and 1120. Thomas studied law and he was supported by Theobald who was the Archbishop of Canterbury, because Thomas was very clever man, and later Thomas became the Archbishop of Canterbury. The next year, the King Henry II became King and he publicized the Thomas as a chancellor of England. Thomas was both Archbishop and Chancellor of England. Thomas was best friend of the Henry II, and he gave ideas to King. For instance it’s believed that, Thomas helped Henry to rebel in Anjou in France. He was next to Henry every time, and Thomas had not only religious power but also political power as well. After Theobald died the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket began to control Canterbury completely. After that, King Henry wanted to control Canterbury, because at that time church was as powerful as the King, so King wanted to unite religious power and political power, however conflicts came our between them. Firstly, Henry II wanted to control Church but Thomas didn’t accept it, and then second one is the financial one, Henry II prevented the financial support of the Canterbury and the last one is; King Henry wanted guilty priest in public court but Thomas didn’t want, because he was very clever and he could create a border between religious events and political ones, so the old two friends became two enemies, so Archbishop Thomas had to move France because he would be killed by King Henry. He could survive and but he was not happy, because he was not in his motherland, so he missed England. As we know that, Eliot’s play based on that event, and we can see it in the play clearly, because play began with the Archbishop Thomas returning back to Canterbury. We know that, politics is one of the important themes of the play, and King Henry II was the power thirst King, so he wanted to be controller of everything and he wanted to direct church for his own benefits. According to me, it’s same everywhere, it was same in 1100s and it is also same today, everybody and every politicians wants to use religion and beliefs for their own benefits. As we know, King Henry II tried to use religious power of Archbishop Thomas in order to make his own state more powerful, because of that reason he chose Thomas Becket as chancellor. We read same thing in the George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, which is also about politics and power thirst leaders. In my opinion, Eliot tried to show...
Bibliography: Birket, C.J. “ Murder in the Cathedral.” On the Web, 2003.
Mascar, Jack.” Analysis of Chorus in Murder in the Cathedral.” On the Web, 2010.
Sauder, Diana.” Murder in the Cathedral.” On the Web, 1999.
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