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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When a young monk tries to murder the king, Becket saves the monk before he can commit treason. The boy lived in Becket’s household for much of his childhood and youth.

Becket, or the Honor of God |

What I like most about this play is Anouilh’s skilled weaving of contemporary politics, history, and his own message. The following are some other facts and explanations: Aspects of the content that can safely be considered true are the conflicts between England and France, church and state, and the outline biography of Becket.

The play is written in the manner of which they spoke at the time, so jeah might be difficult to read, but there are still many excellent lines and characters through the storm of backwards Old English. The royal governments of both France and England struggle for legal and economic power with the Catholic Church.

Henry finds himself trapped by the life-force no less than Thomas had.

But, at the same time, he should not have been murdered for fighting this fight. Their magnitudes may seem vastly different, it is true, but only to the unaided eye. Becket’s mistress, Gwendolen, is beautiful, intelligent, and capable of strong love, which she, like Henry, directs toward Becket.


Henry guarantees Becket safe passage back to England. The very paucity of its literal, recognizable, concrete detail lifts becke mind forcefully into interpretation while its insistence on reason above reason casts the mind back upon dumb faith: Becket at first is very apprehensive about taking on this role and great responsibility.

After Olivier’s death Quinn displayed extreme animosity towards the actor in his second autobiography. Are you satisfied now, Becket? Despite his refusal to bend, Henry defends Becket to the end and refuses to hear anyone talk badly about him.

Act 1 ends with Henry sleeping in Becket’s room because the suicide has frightened him. Becket or The Honor of Uean King Henry II positions his friend Becket as a religious leader and the plan backfires. Bishop, must I remind you that we are men of God and that we have an Honor to defend, which dates from all jran. Only I loved you and you did not love me; there is all the difference.

As Henry speaks, Becket appears on stage. They love to hunt and make love to women, they are extravagant in anoulh tastes it’s a big deal when Becket buys a bunch of gold forks–the king tells him, “I don’t even eat from gold; I eat from silver,” and he doesn’t know what forks are because, apparently, B is the one introducing them to England. As if bdcket his real self.

Eventually, the monk becomes Becket’s only servant and waits anoui,h him as he prepares the Eucharist for the final mass. Although he comes to identify himself with a heroic desire for an impossible absolute, he clearly doubts the existence of any moral order shaping the universe.

Read more from the Study Guide.

Becket, or the Honor of God Summary & Study Guide

Indeed, it is the relationship between the two men that has attracted most becmet attention. In agreeing to accept a being prior to existence, they seem less existentialist than Anouilh, Sartre, and their French contemporaries. He begins plotting with Folliot against Becket. Henry makes him promise a favor for a favor.


Becket retains a charismatic mystery to the end. Meanwhile, the king receives word that anouihl archbishop of Canterbury has died. Such is not the case.

Becket by Jean Anouilh | : Books

He is as it were detached. Yet for audiences who know the story, Becket’s martyrdom becomes a victory in the same way that Christ’s martyrdom can be considered a victory: Both Fry and Eliot fall to convincingly dramatize Becket’s inner struggle between pride and acquiescence. This entails a richer sweep of panoramic detail, more psychological depth anouiilh a looser kind of prosaic dialogue than either of his contemporaries use.

While Eliot’s still-turning wheel is dominant, in Curtmantle the cutting and revolving circle recurs compulsively at moments of crisis. Is there anything lonelier than a man-child in power? Consequently, on December 29, a troop of Henry’s men crossed the English Channeltraveled to Canterbury, and assassinated the archbishop Becket while he celebrated mass.

This is quite wrong.

KING Frothing Becket is my enemy, but in the human balance, bastard as he is, and naked as his mother made him, he weighs a hundred times more than jfan do, Madam, with your crown and all your jewels and your august father the Emperor into the bargain. Tony Award for Best Play.

The friends become rivals as the situation deteriorates.

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