AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number4. October   2020                                Pp. 84-96

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

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


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.

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.


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Dr. Sahar AwadAllah is currently an Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature,
Department of English Language & Translation, College of Science and Humanities, at Jubail,
Imam AbdulRahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Sahar Specializes in
English language and literature interdisciplinary studies. She has presented in numerous
international conferences in Europe and the Middle East.
Orcid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5835-9284