The Archbishop Who Fell in Love with Martyrdom: Characterization in Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral
Publication Type
Original research

This paper aims to analyze the characters of T.S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral in an endeavor to prove that Eliot’s characterization in the play is not to be tackled using conventional ways of analysis. Embracing these ways in the previous studies of the play resulted in a faulty assessment of characters as lacking psychological depth and dramatic tension. The paper argues that the method of character depiction employed in the play is meant to produce a ritualistic work celebrating Becket’s martyrdom and glorifying the ideas it stands for. Since martyrdom is the central idea that the play revolves around, glorification of the individual is not expected, for what it requires is self-abnegation or self-erasure. Hence, the study proves that Thomas Becket did the right thing for the right cause after passing all the tests of faith similar to those described in morality plays and transcending the strong temptations he underwent. It is evident that Becket fell in love with martyrdom as an act of redemption, but his sacrificial death is far from being suicidal because he did not allow the powers of temptations to lead him astray.

International Journal of Social Science and Human Research
Publisher Country
United States of America
Publication Type
Online only