What about theatre? Murder at the Cathedral by T.S.Eliot

Murder in the Cathedral is a verse drama by T. S. Eliot, first performed in 1935, that portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral during the reign of Henry II in 1170This book is not about recent time but it is about something from Middle Ages.

In 1170 Henry II is the king of England and Thomas Becket is the Archbishop of Canterbury, a very important person in the Church of England. The two are good friends.The King has appointed Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury in the hope that his friend will prove a loyal servant of the Crown. But at some point, Thomas doesn’t like the king’s ideas any more. Becket comes to regard his spiritual office as far superior to any worldly royal authority, and the two men fell out. Henry is angry – he is the king and he makes his decision. One day Henry tells his knights that he is very angry with Thomas. The knights that it’s time to kill the Archbishop. So they go to Canterbury and find Thomas in the cathedral. They kill him with their swords. Some people say that Thomas’s skull is broken into little pieces. And the brain is on the floor.

When Henry hears the news, he is very sad, he feels guilty. He thinks Thomas is dead because of his words. So he doesn’t eat for three days.

Thomas Becket is considered a murder very soon and the cathedral becomes the destination of a lot of pilgrimages. 

Born in the United States and educated at Harvard, Eliot early settled in England. Throughout his early career he had developed more than a casual interest in the drama, not merely as an art form in and of itself, but in the theater as a means of instruction. Murder in the Cathedral demonstrates Eliot’s mastery of the classic tragic form.

Today you can visit the Cathedral and see the place where Becket died.

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Sara Miceli


II B – Furci Siculo

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