In Murder in the Cathedral, why are the Three Priests and the Chorus tempters to Thomas prior to the Interlude?

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Before the Interlude, and after the four Tempters have completed their various attempts to encourage Thomas to swerve from his duty to the church and his faith, the Chorus, the three Priests and the Tempters all join in together in a rhythmic series of statements designed to express their fears and doubts about the resolution of Thomas to stay in Canterbury and not to give in to the King's will. These different characters combine to create a real atmosphere of terror and foreboding as both Thomas and the audience become aware of the significance of the actions of Thomas and the likely consequence. Note what these characters say:

C: A man may walk with a lamp at night, and yet be drowned in a ditch.

P: A man may climb the stair in the day, and slip on a broken step.

Each of these examples relate to the situation of Thomas. Even if Thomas makes his decision to stick to his principles with the best intentions and in the full light of understanding, disaster can still happen, as is the case with the two situations expressed by the Chorus and the Priests. This episode in the play therefore represents a warning to Thomas about the consequences of his actions and the likely outcome.

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Murder in the Cathedral

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