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"Dying For A Cause" In Becket

884 words - 4 pages

"Dying for a Cause" in BecketIn Jean Anouilh's play, Becket, is set in the twelfth century at the period of King Henry II of England. The protagonist Thomas Becket, a Saxon, serves as chancellor of England, and remains loyal to King Henry II the Norman. Even though Saxon and Norman are enemies at that time, they both become friends, and feel deep devotion to each other. When Henry II makes Thomas Becket become Archbishop of Canterbury so that he can have power to control over the church, Becket realize that he can not serve both the God and the king faithfully by wearing both the Chancellor and Archbishop rings. He openly defies his former friend, King Henry II, and resigns his chancellorship with him. Becket decides to defend God' lords, and remain faithful to the honor of God. Anouilh uses Becket who bravely remains faithful to God, even facing death alone and defends the heavy responsibility of the honor of God to explore the major theme in the play, "Dying for a Cause."At the beginning of the play, Thomas Becket serves King Henry II as "the office of Chancellor of England, keeper of the Triple Lion Seal" (Anouilh 7). He shows reverence to his king by continuing to stay loyal and respectful to the king. Becket becomes the king's friend: "And Becket was my friend, red-blooded, generous and full of strength!" He enjoys the royal duties as a chancellor and the pleasures of royal lives: "I adore hunting and only the Normans and their protégés had the right to hunt. I adore luxury and luxury was Norman ... I'll add that I adore honor" (Anouilh 6). By doing this, he not only honors the king, but also showing integrity and principle of morality. King Henry II determines Thomas Becket to become the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he pressures the ecclesiastical chapter at Canterbury to insure Becket's election. He anticipates that Thomas Becket will continue to remain loyal to him and thus brings a cooperative union between the church and the state. Becket, however, realizes that he will be dishonor to both God and the king if he wears both the Chancellor and Archbishop rings. He openly defies King Henry II: "If I become Archbishop, I can not longer be your friend...I could not serve both God and you." (Anouilh 61). Becket decides to serve Archbishop of the church, vows his loyalty to God, and no longer act to serve the king's honor even though he has already known that he will be forced against the...

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