Murder in the cathedral essays

A Chorus, comprising women of Canterbury, has gathered at the cathedral with some premonition of a terrible event to come. In a long speech, they reflect on how their lives are defined by suffering and reflect on their archbishop, Thomas Becket.

Murder in the cathedral essays

Therefore what I kept in mind was the versification of Everyman. Both have to be trained; both need to be conscious of many things which neither an Elizabethan dramatist, nor an Elizabethan audience, had any need to know.

What Sales describes in terms of medieval modernism is very much a stance or attitude towards the relationship between aesthetic production imagination and the utility of consumption reception grounded in a social functionalism thought to have its origins in the medieval. I should be quick to point out that Sales is rather ambivalent on the point with regard to Eliot himself: Eliot repeatedly mystifies the early modern period.

In his introduction to G. The conditions of his life, the conditions under which dramatic art was then possible, seem even more remote from us than those of Dante Verse drama is any drama written as verse to be spoken; another possible general term is poetic drama.

For a very long period verse drama was the dominant form of drama in Europe and was also important in non-European cultures. Verse drama is particularly associated with the seriousness of tragedy, providing an artistic reason to write in this form, as well as the practical one that verse lines are easier for the actors to memorize exactly.

Murder in the cathedral essays

In the second half of the twentieth century verse drama fell almost completely out of fashion with dramatists writing in English the plays of Christopher Fry and T.

Eliot being possibly the end of a long tradition. As Eliot sank ever more deeply into his Anglo-Catholic shtick and he no longer had Pound around to cut the fat and grain filler out of his work, he turned to writing verse drama. He wanted to reach people.

Murder in the Cathedral Critical Essays -

Probably wanted to be Shakespeare. Murder in the Cathedral was the first of these verse dramas, and the only one I can even begin to tolerate. If you appended to be hanging around Canterbury inthis was a big win because Canterbury Cathedral is where the thing was first performed.

If you were hanging around Canterbury incall should talk. He appointed Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury to that end because Becket was his boy. The two came into conflict over the practice of trying clergy in ecclesiastical courts for civil offenses, and Becket fled to France.

While in France he continued to defy Henry, going so far as to excommunicate some of Henrys more loyal bishops. At the beginning of the play, Becket returns from his seven-year exile in France.

Murder in the cathedral essays

He goes straight to Canterbury, arriving in time for Act l. Four Tempters tempt him. The knights draw the obvious conclusion about what he means, and they depart for Canterbury. When they arrive, Becket explains that he is loyal to a higher power than the king.

The bloodshed is followed by a flourish of self-exculpatory forensic rhetoric from the knights: Exeunt knights; some priests pray at each other and sappers the audience; good night, good night.

Murder in the Cathedral - Essay -

Historically, Henry disavowed the whole thing, the knights fell into disgrace, and Becket was cannonaded. The whole thing suffers from Late Eliot Syndrome: No tack is left misapprehended.

He lectures us about his points rather than demonstrating or illustrating them, and the writing is often less than inspired. The form and the language are at least appropriate to the material, and the material holds up under the weight of the Message.

Murder in the Cathedral by Eliot research paper

Eliot later attempted to pile similar Messages onto indictment English bourgeois melodrama -in verse! At the height of his powers, Eliot might have done something really interesting with Murder in the Cathedral.

Christopher Fry, who has died, aged 97, was, with TTS Eliot, the leading figure in the revival of poetic drama that took place in Britain in the late sass.

But although Fry was a sacrificial victim of the theatrical revolution ofhe bore his fall from fashion with the stoic grace of a Christian humanist and increasingly turned his attention to writing epic films, most notably Ben Hurt Though less of a public theorist than Eliot, Fry still believed passionately in the validity of poetic drama.

As he wrote in the magazine, Adam: How many of his plays will survive, only time can tell. But, at his best, he brought an undeniable, spiritual elan to the drab world of postwar British theatre.The chorus in Murder in the Cathedral is composed of ordinary women of Canterbury who are neither saints like Thomas Becket nor sinners like the Knights.

They are, like the audience, onlookers who Discuss 'Martyrdom' as the central theme of the play Murder in the Cathedral.


Martyrdom is undoubtably a central theme in 'Murder in The Cathedral' . Bloom, Harold, ed. T. S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral.” New York: Chelsea House, A collection of eleven important essays by prominent literary critics such as Helen Gardner, David Ward, and Stephen Spender.

Murder in the Cathedral was the first of these verse dramas, and the only one I can even begin to tolerate.

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The title is intended to evoke a whodunit; it may be a ponderous Laotian attempt at a “witticism”. 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 THE CATHEDRAL: 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. Murder in the Cathedral is a compelling drama for celebrating the themes of faith, justification, power, and conflict, which continue to recur through the ages.

Murder in the Cathedral Critical Essays -