Published on March 16, 2014
Murder in the Cathedral Written byT.S.Eliot : • Thomas Stearns Eliot Written for : • The production at the Canterbury Festival, June 1935 Setting of the play: • 12th Century (December, 1170) Action of the play: • Archbishop’s Hall (Part I ) Canterbury Cathedral (Part II ) CHARACTERS…
The poor women of Canterbury– witness “For us the poor, there is no action But only to wait and to witness” Becket – not suffers for a cause, sacrifices his life A witness to the reality of God’s powers Spiritual pride: approaching martyrdom in wrong spirit “…Is there no way, in my soul’s sickness, Does not lead to damnation in pride?...” “..I shall no longer act or suffer, to the sword’s end…” Accepting God’s will: “End will be simple, sudden, God-given… … All things prepare the event..” “I do not think I shall ever preach to you again…” (Pg: 50)
(Contd.) The first martyr – St. Stephen (Ref: Acts 7:59,60) The true martyr – the instrument of God Not by an accident, but by God’s will In the sermon of Thomas Becket: “A Christianmartyrdomis neveranaccident” “…Martyrdomis alwaysthedesignof God” “…lost hiswillinthewillof God” “…nolongerdesiresanything forhimself, not eventhegloryof being a martyr…”
TIME AND FEAR • Question of time and fear • Time An earthly concept, • Fear Human concerned. • Thinking of Cause and Effect – decisions on the basis of efficiency and outcome “Are we drawn by danger?...” “I fear the disturbance of the quiet seasons…” “Seven years since the Archbishop left us…” “We are afraid in a fear …” • Becket’s decision – submitting himself to God’s will “It is out of time that my decision is taken… ……I give my life To the Law of God above the Law of Man”
• A common image in Medieval theology • God sits at the centre of the large wheel • Understands the system behind its rotations • Thomas – seeks martyrdom for Earthly reasons, at first. “Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain… The last temptation is the greatest treason To do the right deed for the wrong reason…” • Turning of the wheel: Becket: “ … the wheel may turn and still Be forever still.” (Part I :Pg 22) “The fool, fixed in his folly, may think He can turn the wheel on which he turns.” (Part I : Pg 25)
CONCLUSION D. E. Jones says, “ The play is not just the dramatization of Becket’s death; it is a deep searching study of the significance of the martyrdom” Spiritual conquest – an act of redemption Christ's death the death of martyrs Celebrating bravery & glory of those, making the sacrifice From the play: Let us reconcile and get forgiveness from God “We acknowledge our trespass, our weakness, our fault; we acknowledge That the sin of the world is upon our heads;… Lord, have mercy upon us…”
Reference : 1. A Critical Evaluation of Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral – Dr. S. Sen 2. Internet -http://www.enotes.com/murder-cathedral/copyright
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