Upsurges of Timelessness: The Becket Tale between History and Dramaturgy in Tennyson’s Becket, Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral and Anouilh’s Becket, or the Honour of God

AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number4. October   2020                                Pp. 84-96
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol4no4.7

 Full Paper PDF

 

Upsurges of Timelessness: The Becket Tale between History and Dramaturgy
in Tennyson’s Becket, Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral
and Anouilh’s Becket, or the Honour of God 

Sahar Awadallah
Department of English Language & Translation
College of Science and Humanities, Jubail
Imam AbdulRahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

 

 

Abstract:
The primary concern of this study is to explore the dramatization of the story of Archbishop Thomas a Becket, in three different plays by three prominent playwrights.  These plays are Tennyson’s Becket, Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, and Anouilh’s Becket, or the Honour of God.  The study examines the three plays in the light of their manipulation of the details of Thomas Becket’s contest with Henry II.  The shifting relationship between the two men raised fascinating questions that were considered useful materials for playwrights.  From the narrow confines of historical conflict, each of the three writers presented a unique artwork of a different dramatic vision.  Through shedding light on the tale of the murder of Thomas Becket, this study highlights the significance of his fatal conflict with King Henry II to each of the three dramatists.  First, it investigates how Tennyson’s primary purpose was to write a work of “documentary” authenticity.  Then, this paper clarifies how Eliot’s interpretation of the play is a religious symbolic one.  It also explores how Anouilh’s employed the Becket tale to present his perspective of the dilemma of twentieth-century man.  Thus, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the different interpretations of the story in the three plays are not only distinctive in themselves but are also, in varying degrees, relating the past to the present.
Keywords: Anouilh’s Becket, Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, Historical Thomas Becket, Twentieth-century man’s dilemma

Cite as:  Sriastuti, A.  (2020). Upsurges of Timelessness: The Becket Tale between History and Dramaturgy in Tennyson’s Becket, Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral and Anouilh’s Becket, or the Honour of God. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (4) 84-96.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol4no4.7

  References

Alverez, C. G. (1983-84). Becket, Being and its Transcendency.  Estudos Anglo-Americanos (7-8), 74-80.

Anouilh, J. (October 2, 1960). Becket by Chance.  The New York Times (1), 3.

Anouilh, J. (1995).  Becket, or The Honour of God. London, Methuen and Co, Ltd.

Cannon, J., ed. (1997). The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford: The Oxford Press.

Duggan, A. (1957).  My Life for My Sheep.  New York: Coward- McCann, Inc.

Eliot, T. S. (1979). Murder in the Cathedral.  London: Faber and Faber.

Gatlin, J. C. Jr. (1965). Becket and Honor: A Trim Reckoning.  Modern Drama. December: 8(3), 277-283.

Jones, D. E. (1970). The Plays of T. S. Eliot.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Jones, T. M. (1970).  The Becket Controversy. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Hayter, A. (1966). Thomas a` Becket and the Dramatists.  Essays by Divers Hands: Being the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom (34), 90-105.

Knowles, D. (1971). Thomas Becket (Leaders of Religion).  Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Kohzadi, H., & Azizmohammadi, F. (2011). A Study of T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral.  Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 5(12), 2227-2230.

March, R., & Tambimuttu. (1965). T. S. Eliot: A Symposium.  London: Routledge.

Ormond, L. (1993).  History and Drama.  New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Otten, T. (1972).  The Deserted Stage: The Search for Dramatic Form in Nineteenth-Century England.  Athens: Ohio University Press.

Seed, D. (1982). Eliot’s use of Tennyson in Murder in the CathedralYeats Eliot Review, 7(1-2) 42-49.

Sharma, H. L. ed. (1976).  T. S. Eliot: His Dramatic Theories.  New Delhi: S. Chand & Company Ltd.

Tennyson, A. L. (1982).  Tennyson: Poems and Plays. London: Oxford University Press.

Tennyson, H. (2010).  Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son. New York: Nabu Press.

Winston, R. (1967).  Thomas Becket.  New York: Alfred Knopf.

115total visits,2visits today