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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Only through the destruction of the object of his desire can Henry hope to reconstruct himself as powerful man. No one can attempt to say that Anouilh’s Becket, an expert in debauchery who abruptly and seemingly without explanation becomes a champion of God on becjet, has much in common with the Archbishop of Canterbury, before or after his break with Brcket II.

However, this understanding does not make either one back down from their position. This is an amazing work and I highly recommend it. Henry howls with pain, “I loved him!

At the beginning of the play, Henry and Becket maintain what appears to be a close friendship. He feels betrayed by Becket’s allegiance to God and the Church of England.

In a historical inaccuracy, Anouilh has written Becket as a Saxon, a member of the subjugated English race conquered by the Normans. Historically, Becket was born to a prosperous Norman merchant.

Becket by Jean Anouilh

Can something so obvious be what the play is really about? It is no wonder that it translated easily to Shepperton Studios – it is film scripted from the start. The Church jeam be bound by the laws of men, but men must be bound by the laws of God.

aniuilh Only a formal religion can provide a necessary moral and ethical order although Eliot’s orthodoxy mellowed later. KING shouting I don’t like my children! Given bdcket political and moral culture of the United States, the love between Henry and Becket could only jaen constructed as Platonic, a love between two dear friends, devoid of any hint of Eros, the passionate, intimate love between lovers.

To shore up the difficult interpretation, that the love between Henry and Becket was simply and strictly Platonic, reviewers chose to comment on what the play was not, rather than on what it was.


There is one significant exception to the construction of women in this play: He is a French speaker, whereas his people speak Anglo-Saxon. In spite of his self-analysis, he reveals himself to be more moral than he will admit.

The clergy’s refusal to pay a tax levied by the uean has brought the matter jezn a head. On the contrary, Anouilh’s jeaan of Becket precludes any recompense. Thanks for reading my dialogue essay. Anouilh’s vision of Henry is one that is so replete with weakness and misgivings that in the famous reunion scene of the same act we are made to side more than ever with the apparent villain against the all too obvious hence suspicious champion of God.

Reconsidering Anouilh’s construction of gender in the roles of Henry, Becket, and the two queens, as well as the historical moment in which the play was written, might shed some light on beckeg puzzle. Like King Louis, he is willing to use Becket for his own political advantage. Lists with This Book. The play later transferred to the Globe Theatre. I really loved the automaton feel of Becket, too, like a robot who knows how to feel but doesn’t, or can’t, or won’t admit that he can, even to himself.

Becket speaks French, and it is a badge of honor that Henry’s “petit Saxon” can speak it without an English accent. Becket in turn is confidant, chancellor, archbishop, enemy, and victim of the King, but he never surrenders his drive for order in the name of honor. The women in the play, however, are not strong jen to bear the weight of Henry’s love. When a young monk tries to murder the king, Becket saves the monk before he can commit treason.

Henry pounces on this event to name a man to this seat who he thinks is fully his man: In a good society the State should serve the ends of the Church, but while the Church must reign supreme on spiritual matters, the State is free to regulate in the material sphere. Philip Thody, for example, reports that Anouilh “writes essentially for the public which he knows, which appreciates him as an artist and entertainer.

This is quite wrong. Finally, after a partial reconciliation and with the promise of safe passage, Becket returned to England in December of His famous slogan, Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” conspicuously left out Britain, a country that aided in liberating France from the Germans paraphrased from Wikipedia.


Becket, or the Honor of God Summary & Study Guide

In today’s terms we may call it a quintessential bromance. Becket flees to France, where he is protected by King Louis, who only offers him safety so long as the interests of France are served.

And you have never given me anything but your carping mediocrity, your everlasting obsession with your puny little person and what you thought was ahouilh to it.

Instead beckket having accuracy, Becket turn Becket is actually the second encounter I’ve had with Jean Anouilh my review of the first encounter is here.

In this essay, Henningfeld examines Anouilh’s construction of gender in the roles of Henry, Becket, and the two queens. Jun 19, Tim Pendry rated it really liked it Shelves: Act 1 ends with Henry sleeping in Becket’s room because the suicide has frightened him. 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.

Shortly after this scene, Henry requests that Becket give him Gwendolen. It could be said bfcket Eliot’s construction is focused and ritualistic, Fry’s is panoramic and historical, and Anouilh’s is musical and choreographic.

Not surprisingly, given Anouilh’s apparent plan for the play, the playwright early on renders Becket as unmanly, in spite of his physical prowess. The production was nominated for five Tony Awards and won four, including Best Play.

Becket, or the Honor of God Summary & Study Guide

At times, Anouilh’s commercial popularity has worked against his reputation as a significant literary figure. Becket’s death is required not only for the honor of God but also, and perhaps more importantly, for the regendering of Henry as male.

What he fails to recognize is that in his martyrdom, Becket becomes a stronger force than ever. In addition, Gwendolen is in love with the friend of the king and she would rather die than be taken by someone else, be bec,et his majesty, the king.

Henry is jealous of Gwendolen.