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Murder in the cathedral by T.S. Eliot
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Murder in the cathedral (1935)

by T.S. Eliot (Author)

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2,056183,238 (3.65)72
Member:henkl
Title:Murder in the cathedral
Authors:T.S. Eliot (Author)
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Tags:english, poetry, drama

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Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot (1935)

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» See also 72 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Not quite Eliot's initial foray into verse drama - "Sweeney Agonistes" has that status - and perhaps his most memorable one.

Technically, it was unrepeatable, or at least, nobody, including Eliot, has tried to do so (its successors at Canterbury, by Sayers, Williams, Fry, et al. were far more conventional, as were Eliot's later plays). Eliot uses a chorus taken straight out of Greek drama, and marries it to a structure based tightly on that of the Western mass (down to an actual sermon at the sermon and a martyrdom at the point of the Eucharistic Sacrifice), followed by a Brechtian breaking of the fourth wall. The chorus lets Eliot use a more heightened poetic language than he could have gotten away with in its absence.

And it works. It continues to be performed, and works well in performance (one could say "the theatre", but it tends to be performed in churches). On the page, it is as effective as any drama is outside of performance.

A tour de force which, while it will never be part of the world's greatest drama, is easily a major work at he second rank. Considering that the first rank is Shakespeare, Sophocles, Racine, and so forth, this is still a major achievement. ( )
1 vote jsburbidge | Sep 21, 2016 |
As usual with Eliot, I don't feel like I'm getting it all, but all of a sudden up pops an absolutely beautiful, lucid passage about time or love or death that is more than worth the price of admission. He's a fascinating figure (as is Thomas Becket, who is the subject of this play.) ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
2
  kutheatre | Jun 4, 2015 |
Servant of God has chance of greater sin
And sorrow, than the man who serves a king.
For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them,
Still doing right: and striving with political men
May make that cause political, not by what they do
But by what they are.


The drama opens with the return of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket from exile in December 1170. He is welcomed by the people of Canterbury and three priests, then visited by four tempters. He predicts his imminent martyrdom in his Christmas sermon. A few days later, four knights find and kill Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral.

After the murder, the four knights draw the audience into the event through a direct appeal. They present their justification for the murder as if addressing a jury before dismissing the audience. However, the knights don't have the last word. The priests speak, and the chorus concludes with a corporate confession and plea for mercy.

I listened to an audio production (the Old Vic Company with Robert Donat) while reading the text. It was a moving experience, akin to the best of Shakespeare. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Angevin history or church history. ( )
  cbl_tn | Apr 28, 2015 |
Servant of God has chance of greater sin
And sorrow, than the man who serves a king.
For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them,
Still doing right: and striving with political men
May make that cause political, not by what they do
But by what they are.


The drama opens with the return of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket from exile in December 1170. He is welcomed by the people of Canterbury and three priests, then visited by four tempters. He predicts his imminent martyrdom in his Christmas sermon. A few days later, four knights find and kill Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral.

After the murder, the four knights draw the audience into the event through a direct appeal. They present their justification for the murder as if addressing a jury before dismissing the audience. However, the knights don't have the last word. The priests speak, and the chorus concludes with a corporate confession and plea for mercy.

I listened to an audio production (the Old Vic Company with Robert Donat) while reading the text. It was a moving experience, akin to the best of Shakespeare. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Angevin history or church history. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Apr 27, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
T. S. Eliotprimary authorall editionscalculated
Coghill, NevillEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kern, A. FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nijmeijer, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Here let us stand, close by the cathedral.
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We have all had our private terrors,
Our particular shadows, our secret fears.
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Book description
The Archbishop Thomas Becket speaks fatal words before he is martyred in T. S. Eliot's best-known drama, based on the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170. Praised for its poetically masterful handling of issues of faith, politics, and the common good, T. S. Eliot's play expanded his reputation as the most significant poet of his time.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156632772, Paperback)

T. S. Eliot's verse dramatization of the murder of Thomas Becket at Canterbury, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

 

The Archbishop Thomas Becket speaks fatal words before he is martyred in T. S. Eliot's best-known drama, based on the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170. Praised for its poetically masterful handling of issues of faith, politics, and the common good, T. S. Eliot's play bolstered his reputation as the most significant poet of his time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The story of the murder of Thomas a Becket as seen through the eyes of the great poet. A dramatization in verse of the murder of Thomas Becket at Canterbury. The theatre as well as the church is enriched by this poetic play of grave beauty and momentous decision. Within its limits the play is a masterpiece. Mr. Eliot has written no better poem than this and none which seems simpler… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Ediciones Encuentro

2 editions of this book were published by Ediciones Encuentro.

Editions: 8474909570, 8474903947

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