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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For Anouilh, historical accuracy was less important than was his positioning of Becket and Henry as diametrically opposed characters: Is it so important for the world to have a shape?

Becket’s choice to carry on “absurdly” the mission that has been entrusted to him is in effect an existentialist’s type of decision, a decision against life. Is there anything lonelier than a man-child in power? I read this play my senior year and I loved it. Indeed, Henry’s insecurities and his ongoing attempts to win Becket’s love bcket destroy him. It’s worth reading more than once.

Significantly, at one point this anoulh includes another possible object of Becket’s affection. Often in French literature the lesser of the two heroes occupies the title page. It stands today as solid story-telling and good theatre but it is not a particularly deep play. Emil Roy, on the other hand, in an article for Modern Drama examines jjean heroism of Anouilh’s characters while emphasizing Becket’s essential alienation. In the minds of the tempters, however, Thomas fits into anouulh cycle of hunter and hunted, eater and the eaten with sacrificial and sacramental overtones reflecting Eliot’s Dionysian and Christian sources.


And I believe I still do! I will definitely track the film down now too, and will keep watch for any theatrical productions. The women in the play, however, are not strong enough to bear the weight of Henry’s love. In Becketironically, the problem is reversed: I don’t see the point.

The two men meet. A really great script that raises fascinating questions. Jul 06, Rachel rated it it was amazing.

Anouilh’s work was influenced by a major mid-twentieth-century philosophical movement, existentialism. Henry says to Becket: He dreamed of resuscitating the Europe of old.

Becket – Wikipedia

His father was a tailor and Anouilh maintained that he inherited from him a pride in conscientious craftmanship. The women Henry chooses to bed, for example, are flimsy, one-dimensional caricatures. Henry is a man of great appetites; he cannot love just a little.

A much younger Becket, dressed as a nobleman, enters Henry’s bedroom. He is just as lost in beckft own household. In the film version, when Becket first receives the seal of the Church and it joins the seal of State on his hand, he says that the powers should be combined.

Henry asks him, “Et toi qu’est-ce que tu as a faire? I don’t know if there is history to back up this story but it brcket entertaining. His Grace seems to have the reins of the Church of England well in hand. The monk reminds Becket of himself anouily a younger age. In addition, he has excommunicated the three men responsible, all friends of the king. Nov 02, Paul LaFontaine rated it really liked it.


The relationship between the two men becomes clearer here: The play criticises – in an allegorical manner – collaborationism with the Nazis.

This political climate must have had a role in Anouilh’s engendering of Becketwhich has as a major sub-theme the tension between the Normans and the Saxons. When Gwendolen goes to the king, she kills herself.

Curtmantle ‘s imagery is man-in-society centered.

Becket, or the Honor of God Summary & Study Guide

Why do you put labels onto everything to justify your feelings? He may owe his artistic bent to his mother, a anluilh who supplemented the family’s meager income by playing summer seasons in the casino orchestra in the nearby seaside resort of Arcachon. In some ways, a flashback allows the audience to see into both the past and the future. Olivier happily acceded, and Arthur Kennedy took on the role of Becket, with Olivier playing Henry, both for the tour and a brief return to Broadway.

The existentialists, notably Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartreargue that life is an essentially absurd proposition.