Complete summary of Jean Anouilh’s Becket. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Becket. Becket has ratings and 80 reviews. Karla said: Jenny said: *If you don’t want to read this long review (and I don’t blame you!), skip to the as. Jean Anouilh’s Becket; ou l’honneur de Dieu (Becket; or the Honor of God) tells the troubled story of the relationship between Thomas à Becket and Henry.

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Becket retains a charismatic mystery to the end. Like Becket, Anouilh’s protagonists refuse to accept any standards other than those they adopt for themselves.

And in his final effort we find some of the spareness of verse toward which Eliot’s own later plays moved. Both writers, it seems, have found it impossible either to be satisfied with a coterie audience or to use the whole range of lyric verse in a bourgeois theater of prose realism. His death opens the way for Henry to appoint Becket to this position, thus setting the tragedy in bceket. Although it would have appeared that Becket would have been the perfect choice for archbishop of Canterbury due to his close friendship with the king, the reality was that as soon as Becket became archbishop, he ceased being the king’s friend.

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Becket, or the Honor of God Summary & Study Guide

Therefore, the plot reaches its inevitable conclusion; without compromise, there must be a confrontation – one side will win, while the other loses. Becket’s need for proper pre-death decorum is calculated to give an air of sobriety and respectability to his final hour. Although the Church of England and Catholicism remain the state-sanctioned denominations of the two countries, the populations of both countries beckte become increasingly secularized.


From the start, Anouilh’s version of Henry II is replete with compassion and understanding. In the final scenes of the play, there is a strange gender reversal, marked first by the Queen Mother’s speech to Henry: More seriously, since it plays an important part in anoyilh play, is making Becket’s background Saxon rather than Norman.

What is woven on the loom of fate, What is woven in the councils of princes Is woven also in our veins, beckeh brains. Do you love me, Becket?

Becket by Jean Anouilh

Gatlin speaks to the alienation ahouilh the play while indirectly acknowledging Anouilh’s debt to the French existentialists, most notably to Albert Camus ‘s The Myth of Sisyphus. But the king can be vapid, clueless even, and Becket is all intelligence. When Becket must leave the country because of his conflict with the king, he runs to France, of course. KING Frothing Becket is my enemy, but in the human balance, bastard as he is, and naked as his mother made him, he weighs a hundred times more than you do, Madam, with your crown and all your jewels and your august father the Emperor into the bargain.

He gives away his worldly goods.

To ask other readers questions about Becketplease sign up. Anouilh openly admits his error in anojilh Becket’s Saxon parentage an important thematic device in the play. The archbishop of Canterbury is the highest official of the Catholic Church in England. We might wish to take it as read that he believes in God as represented by the Church or that the Church gives him a vehicle for dealing with hidden ethnic Saxon or personal the loss of Gwendolyn resentments but I am not sure it matters.

He wants nothing more than to be a poor monk. And seemingly to defend the honor of God, Becket says “no” to Henry. Why this is so is complicated, both in the way that Henry constructs the women around him and in the way Anouilh creates his characters. But you have never been a wife to me!


Becket – Wikipedia

He doesn’t interrogate his characters too much – he just exposes their actions and words: I highly recommend it! Bec,et this true or not?

Unrequited love has rendered Henry metaphorically impotent. Moreover, he is alienated from the Saxons because, like his anoouilh, Becket works for the Normans.

Only a formal religion can provide a necessary moral and ethical order although Eliot’s orthodoxy mellowed later. When the witty uses of irony are added to this vast stock of comparisons, the possibilities for richness of texture and illumination are multiplied.

In October ofat the Great Council of Winchester, Henry demanded that bwcket who committed crimes should be turned over to the royal courts for trial and punishment. Using the tools of feminist and gender criticism, then, contemporary readers can benefit from a return to Anouilh’s gecket to examine how the writer has constructed the gendered identities of Henry, Becket, and not incidentally, the two queens.

Eliot never again used either a martyrdom or such a dazzling array of verse so prominently.

This section contains words approx. Henry is a man of great appetites; he cannot love just a little. The Normans mistreated the Saxons for many years as depicted in the film, and the Barons and clergy were Normans. Becket, for example, is brave and courageous.

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