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T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral as a Christian play

T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral as a Christian play

T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral as a Christian play

Q. Comment on Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral as a Christian play with close reference to the text.

Answer: Murder in the Cathedral, written by T.S. Eliot, is a play that explores the conflict between spiritual and secular power, and the tension between individual conscience and obedience to authority. The play depicts the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, and examines the role of martyrdom and the nature of Christian faith in the face of persecution.

One of the central themes of the play is the idea of sacrifice and martyrdom. Becket, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, is portrayed as a man who is willing to sacrifice his own life for the sake of his beliefs and his commitment to God. Throughout the play, Becket speaks of the importance of accepting suffering and persecution as part of one's Christian duty, and his death is ultimately portrayed as a triumph of faith over worldly power.

The play also explores the relationship between the Church and the State, and the tension between spiritual and secular power. Becket's conflict with King Henry II is depicted as a struggle between two fundamentally different worldviews - one based on the principles of temporal power and control, and the other based on the principles of spiritual authority and moral conscience. Through Becket's martyrdom, Eliot suggests that the Church is ultimately more powerful than the State, and that faith and obedience to God should take precedence over political and worldly concerns.

The play also examines the role of individual conscience in the face of authority. Becket is portrayed as a man who is willing to stand up for what he believes in, even if it means going against the wishes of those in power. He is shown as a man who is willing to suffer and even die for his beliefs, rather than compromise his principles or submit to the demands of the State. This emphasis on the importance of individual conscience is a key element of Christian faith, and is a recurring theme throughout the play.

Besides, there are several other elements of Christianity that are present in Murder in the Cathedral:

    Redemption and forgiveness: Throughout the play, Becket acknowledges his own flaws and imperfections, and seeks redemption and forgiveness from God. He is portrayed as a man who is constantly striving to improve himself and to be closer to God.

    The importance of prayer: The characters in the play frequently turn to prayer as a way of seeking guidance and strength. Becket, in particular, is shown to be a devout and contemplative man, who spends much of his time in prayer and reflection.

    The power of miracles: The play includes several references to miracles, both real and imagined. These miracles are seen as evidence of God's presence in the world, and they serve to reinforce the faith of the characters.

    The importance of community: Christianity places a strong emphasis on community and the sharing of burdens. In the play, Becket is supported by a network of loyal followers who are willing to stand by him and even die for him.

    The concept of original sin: Becket acknowledges the concept of original sin, and sees it as a fundamental aspect of human nature. He believes that all humans are flawed and prone to sin, and that the only way to overcome this is through spiritual discipline and obedience to God.

In conclusion, Murder in the Cathedral is a Christian play that explores themes of sacrifice, martyrdom, spiritual authority, and the importance of individual conscience. Through the character of Becket, Eliot presents a vision of Christian faith that emphasizes the importance of moral conscience and spiritual obedience, and that challenges the supremacy of worldly power and control. The play's focus on faith, sacrifice, and the triumph of the spirit over the material world makes it a powerful and enduring work of Christian literature.


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