Murder in the Cathedral Characters

T. S. Eliot

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury. Having just returned from France, where he has gained the support of the pope in his attempt to achieve both temporal and spiritual power in England, he finds a mixed reaction among the people. Although some support him, others would gladly see him dead. He is faced with a dilemma that leaves him no alternative but to sin against his faith. After his murder, he achieves martyrdom and sainthood, which his accusers say he was seeking all along.

Three priests of the cathedral

Three priests of the cathedral, who fear the outcome of Becket’s return. They express the pessimism felt by everyone.

The first tempter

The first tempter, who offers worldly pleasure and success.

The second tempter

The second tempter, who offers temporal power through negation of spiritual authority.

The third tempter

The third tempter, who offers the support of a faction wishing to overthrow the throne.

The fourth tempter

The fourth tempter, who offers martyrdom and eternal glory. Becket denies all the tempters.

Reginald Fitz Urse

Reginald Fitz Urse,

William de Traci

William de Traci,

Hugh de Morville

Hugh de Morville, and

Richard Brito

Richard Brito, the knights who murder Becket. They defend their action on the grounds that they will not benefit from their deed, that Becket had refused to acknowledge the king’s supremacy, and that he was egotistical to the point of insanity.

The women of Canterbury

The women of Canterbury, who act as the chorus of classical drama.


(Drama for Students)

Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket is the Archbishop of Canterbury and hero of the play. When the play opens, the viewer...

(The entire section is 1001 words.)