Murder in the Cathedral

by T. S. Eliot

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How is Thomas Becket the tragic hero in Murder in the Cathedral?

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Thomas Becket is the tragic hero in this play for two reasons.  One, his friendship with Henry II, who supposedly made the comment, "Will anyone rid me of this priest?!" in the midst of his guards who took him literally.  They are the ones who went to the Canterbury Cathedral and killed Becket inside.

The second reason Thomas Becket is the tragic hero in this play is the fact that he is the highest ranking church official in England, and he took his duties to the church seriously.  He stood up to Henry regarding noblemen who were breaking the law of the church, and he fearlessly stood by his friends and fellow churchmen, but where Henry was concerned, Thomas did not stand up for himself.  He was clever , generous, and righteous which made him popular with the common people.  However, Becket believed that God's will would be done with regard to his own fate.

 

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