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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Preview — Becket by Jean Anouilh. Henry is just wise enough to appreciate Becket’s enormous abilities, and cunning enough to seek to make of him a servant.

Every speech reflects by intonation the kind of idea, class, level of intelligence, progress of the action and mounting danger to Thomas. Yet for audiences who know the story, Becket’s martyrdom becomes a victory in the same way that Christ’s martyrdom can be considered a victory: The moment of friendship or love is also and at the same time the moment of combat, and tenderness and pleasure are bridges to be crossed on the way to victory.

Eliot’s Becket, however, moves and does not move—through a spiritual dialectic which resembles but is not part of the changes in the human soul, earthly governments, and the seasons. Eleanor, on the other hand, is the wife of King Louis of France when she meets Henry, some years her junior.

At issue is who will have authority over England: All the other characters sharpen the cutting edge of Becket’s quest, for the situations rather than his character evolve.

Becket speaks French, and it is a badge of honor that Henry’s “petit Saxon” can speak it without an English accent.

You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter. It’s still a good play, even if one knows nothing of English history. Rather than the main conflict between Becket and the King revolving around the Constitutions of Clarendon – as is depicted in the play and as happened in historical fact – the film’s dispute between Becket and Henry II centers on the assassination of an accused priest by the henchmen of Lord Gilbert, a nobleman and friend of King Henry, and Becket’s excommunication of Gilbert as a result.

KING shouting I don’t like my children!


Becket by Jean Anouilh | : Books

It is no wonder that it translated easily to Shepperton Studios – it is film scripted from the start. Feb 09, Cath rated it it was amazing. Henry, on the other hand, is apparently created to be masculine through and through. Olivier happily acceded, and Arthur Kennedy took on the role of Becket, with Olivier playing Henry, both for the tour and a brief return to Broadway.

In order to attain the throne, he has had to use all his political wiles to unite various factions in England. For whether or not Becket “willed” his death, his martyrdom removed the church’s opposition to the political supremacy anoyilh the secular government and affirmed the subordination of human to divine justice. An emissary arrives from Becket to return the Great Seal, the mark of the king’s chancellor. When he does brcket, he embraces the position whole-heartedly.

Jean-Louis Barrault, later a major French director, was a pupil there at the same time and recalls Anouilh as an intense, rather dandified figure who hardly noticed a boy some two years younger than himself.

Becket (Modern Plays) Jean Anouilh: Methuen Drama

Henningfeld is a professor of English literature and composition who has written widely for educational and academic publications. What is woven on the loom of fate, What is woven in the councils of princes Is woven also in our veins, our brains. However, there are one or two similarities in the interpretation. After the Allied victory in World War II inFrance set out to reestablish its colonial holdings across the world, most notably in Vietnam and Algeria.

I am forced to fight him and crush him, but at least he gave me, with open hands, everything that is at all good in me.

Nevertheless, the political maneuvering continues. Want to Read saving…. He is an outsider, a Saxon, alienated from power and the ruling Norman class by the accident of his birth. Becket replies, “J’ai a vous resister de toutes mes forces craint vous barrer contre le vent” I will resist you with all of my force, fearing that you will go against the wind.

Three years after Murder was produced inFry used the same three-level scheme of character presentation in the short, primitivist The Boy with a Cart. In the next scene, the king and Becket are hunting.

Becket, or the Honor of God Summary & Study Guide

Thomas Becket is despondent and divines that this anointment will transform their relationship. Finally, Anouilh brings closure to his play by ending it with the same scene that opened it, bringing the king full circle to Canterbury. Henry pounces on this event to name a man to this seat who he thinks is fully his man: This website uses cookies to improve user experience. Yet there is a simpler explanation: As a character, he seems utterly alone after the break between the two men.


The author does well to show us a time of grinding poverty, where laws prevent commoners from rising above their misery, ignorance, and hatred. This entails a richer sweep of panoramic detail, more psychological depth and a looser kind of prosaic dialogue than either of his contemporaries use.

On the other hand Fry rejects Eliot’s contention that human nature shares in the evil which befell all nature after the Fallan idea stressed in Murder by the chorus:. With the deliberateness of ritual and the elegance of dance, Thomas Becket fulfills his destiny in terms of divine, human, and natural phases. Indeed, it is the relationship between the two men that has attracted most critical attention. Only a formal religion can provide a necessary moral and ethical order although Eliot’s orthodoxy mellowed later.

Nowhere, however, is Anouilh’s attitude toward the Becket of the early play more apparent than in this telling stage direction: Jul 24, Ahmed rated it it was amazing Shelves: In Curtmantle the King focuses and complicates most of Fry’s imagery.

Anouilh conveniently suppresses this fact in his depiction of the relationship between Louis and Henry. Works by Jean Anouilh. In addition, he has excommunicated the three men responsible, all friends of the king. Anouilh is so bent on deflecting attention away from the female characters of the play and so determined to concentrate his full attention on the male to male love in the play that he does not even grant these two important wnouilh personages the courtesy of their own names.

Inherent in this belief is that human beings can always change who they are and their lot in life. Because, without labels, the world would have no shape, my prince.