They must wait, and then witness the act that they fear. In 1932, he was appointed as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard. The first priest asks if the feud between Becket and the king has been resolved or not—whether Becket comes in war or in peace. Eliot's mother was a woman of intellectual and literary interests. Finally, the priests open the door and the knights drunkenly enter. He acknowledged both publicly and privately that his words inspired the murder, though he never admitted to officially giving the order.
Instead, Eliot depicts Thomas more as a myth, in the same way that Orestes or Oedipus would have been seen by a Greek audience. Because a chorus typically comprised common characters, the audience became engaged in the action of the myth. He was also a founder of Washington University and became its Chancellor in 1872. The first part of the play ends with a monologue by Becket. What matters to Eliot is the community that is affected by Becket's martyrdom, the very community celebrating that martyrdom as they celebrate the death centuries later through Eliot's play. However, nothing has happened since his final speech of Part I to make us think that he might have changed his mind. Henry was certain to withhold the church lands he had seized, and would surely continue to press for control over church courts.
Three priests who served the Archbishop in the past then enter the scene, as well as a herald who informs them and the Chorus that Becket is in England, back from France. Though based around historical record, the play eschews psychology and political interpretations in favor of a more serene and spiritual consideration of the sacrifice of martyrdom. This second option is more spiritually fulfilling and honest, but requires more struggle. They might not have Thomas's strength and persistence, but that is what makes him a saint. The women worry that his return could make their lives more difficult by angering the king. He is ready to be God's instrument. For the blood of Thy martyrs and saints.
There were few explicit restrictions on subject matter. The third tempter offers a vision of the future, a promise of a world in which Becket's ambition could be realized. However, the friendship quickly began to dissolve as Thomas resigned the Chancellorship and then began to refuse Henry the access to the church courts that he requested. Here, Eliot proposes another way to delineate the Becket story from the political framework in which it was and continues to be frequently considered. Greeks did not celebrate in the promise of afterlife in their tragedies, while the Christians for whom Eliot writes celebrate someone like Becket not only for his strength, but because he reminds them that they will be rewarded for their own strength in heaven.
The Chorus realizes that they, too, face this challenge, but are not yet at peace with it. Though none of the four knights is particularly individualized before Becket's murder, the Second Knight is introduced as William de Traci afterward. Together, they consider the uncertainty of life and death and the lack of discernible order to the universe. The priests protect Becket, in spite of the threats which the knights make towards them. He is omnipresent Though not a speaking character in the play, Pope Alexander figures prominently. They move to attack him, but the attempt is interrupted by the entrance of the priests and attendants.
Dramatically, the sermon has little impact. The knights insist that the interdiction was engineered through Thomas, who could have them absolved. It looks mournfully and honestly on the unfortunate forces of the world that destroyed individuals, while simultaneously celebrating those individuals who stayed strong in the face in those forces. You come with applause, you come with rejoicing, but You come bringing death into Canterbury: A doom on the house, a doom on yourself, a doom on the world. His first efforts were largely poetic.
It is not surprising that Eliot's youth was filled with education, religion, and family closeness. Henry wanted criminal priests to be tried in the civil courts while Becket wanted them to be tried in the ecclesiastical courts. By 1930, Eliot had achieved his own fame as a poetic genius, and would remain in the literary spotlight for the following thirty years, writing poems as well as seven works for the theatre, and winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. All three appeal to that quality, albeit in different ways. Murder in the Cathedral draws on this historical sequence of events to tell of the tragedy of the Archbishop's death.
Eliot was born in Missouri in 1888 to a middle-class family. The first tempter seems unwilling to think that happiness should be sacrificed for spiritual progress or any kind of higher ideal. Lesson Summary Eliot was born in Missouri in 1888 and died in 1965. Nothing is possible but the shamed swoon Of those agreeing to the last humiliation. The Third Tempter offers a vision of the future in which Thomas will not only rule, but rule via a new system of government. He is uncertain whether he should act in pursuing martyrdom or suffer through his life, since his reasons for seeking martyrdom are impure.