AD's English Literature : Analysis of T.S. Eliot's "The Murder in The Cathedral" : Religious Elements,Becket as a Passive Character, Becket’s Martyrdom and its Significance

Analysis of T.S. Eliot's "The Murder in The Cathedral" : Religious Elements,Becket as a Passive Character, Becket’s Martyrdom and its Significance

 


The Religious Elements: In this play T.S. Eliot has shown how drama can still bean instrument of community in the two sense corresponding to its original function as an extension of the liturgy and as an interpretation of god’s word in truest of flesh and blood.

For the purpose of his play, the audience became a congregation, having interpreted to the significance of martyrdom and being invited to participate in the celebration of an act of martyrdom. Part-11 has something of the quality of liturgical celebration. It is not a plain representation of the historical fact which is lice that of the Holy Communion to the last super.

So the audience is invited to participate in sprite and through the act watching its link with the communion of saints’. The play is a devotional morality. But it is not ordinary morality. It is drama beyond drama written as room within spiritual self-conflict of a saint. 

Becket's assassination: Wikipedia





Becket as a Passive Character: The character of Becket himself round whom the whole action revolves , is disappointment . Thomas, says Mason, exists only for the presentation of spiritual of spiritual crisis. He is lass a man, says Helen Gardener, than an embodied attitude. His role is essentially a passive one. He is assailed by the Tempters, importuned by the knights. In so a long course he finds no alternative to defend himself. He has little to do but go forward to a predetermined life nor is any of the best poetry in the play put in to his month. While the long server, in which he explains his slightly equivocal victory over the spiritual pride, is couched in such simple prose that it lacks dramatic impact.

From the words of the Tempters, and of the chorus we learn the bare facts of Thomas’s early life. But, it seems, all the time Eliot rejects many poets as of Becket’s human qualities. Thus we find that the character of Becket is a passive one.

Becket’s Martyrdom and its Significance: Becket’s death may be a tragedy in the sense that he is murdered . But by his death he achieves the glory of martyrdom. As Butcher says , “the death of martyrdom presents to as not the defect but the victory of the individual , the issue of a conflict in which the individual is ranged on the same side as hanger powers and the sense of suffering consequently is lost in that of moral triumph”.
It may be a personal tragedy but it is a comedy as well for his death has the power to fructify the lives of other. The Canterbury women are transformed and his martyrdom. The tragedy of Becket is a contemning tragedy, for in age a church must be crucified to at one to God for the sins of humanity. As the chores says:
He thank thee for thy mercies of blood for thy redemption by blood for .... shall create the holy places.
G. Wilson rightly remarks:
           “Murder in the Cathedral dramatizes Becket as a type of Christian hero, conquering palisade and attaining martyrdom.”   
   
Ref:1. Wikipedia
         2. IGNOU Study Guide

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