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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Henry and Becket were great friends.  Henry appointed Becket to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury since in those days only the church and the king had any power.  Henry assumed that Becket, once the Archbishop, would allow Henry to use him and his new position to manipulate the power and the money of the church for his own purposes.

However, Becket surprised Henry.  He was a man of great virtue, honor, and morality.  He took his position as Archbishop seriously, and soon won the hearts of all the common people who often received Becket's very own shoes and cloaks when they had none to wear.  Becket refused to allow Henry to use him as a pawn in Henry's quest for power and money.  Henry therefore had a tantrum, and it is said that he once uttered, "Will anyone not rid me of that God-forsaken priest?"  His knights heard him, and took him at his word.  Becket was murdered in the cathedral at Canterbury, and people still today go on pilgrimmage there to pay Becket homage.

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