My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Why haven't I reviewed this? Why? Why? WHY? How could I be so stupid?
Presenting: The Review of Murder in the Cathedral
Very rarely in a reader's life does (s)he come across a play that poses questions of morality and martyrdom, glory and grace the way this play does. Paralleled in its poignancy only by Saint Joan perhaps, this play is so much that the dramatisation of an episode in history. No, it's not just about martyrdom, or Thomas Becket or even Christianity for that matter. It is about an individual's opposition to authority , about standing up against something that one may have approved of in another position or place or time for the sake of duty and for the greater good.
Becket, thus, comes across not just as a noble Christian Bishop but also as a man with deeply contrasting personalities: the Chancellor who had enforced the Traditional King's Revenues from the churches and the Bishop, who stood up against the Constitutions of Clarendon.
Personally, I hold that no playwright would have juxtaposed this better than Eliot! What makes is more beautiful is the time when Eliot came up with this play: 1935—The year history marks for the Rise of Fascism (Couldn't be better timed than that, could it?) when, what was needed in Europe at large was individual's opposition to authority.
Simply put, the play appealed to me on a lot of levels. The words didn't just slip effortlessly by my eyes but also touched me somewhere deep within. So simple, so brief and so profound! And more importantly—timeless, when it comes to the life lessons embedded in it!
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