Murder in the Cathedral Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How long has Thomas Becket been away from Canterbury? Why has he chosen to stay away for so long?

Becket fled England seven years previous to the start of the play. Many of Becket's actions and ideas were considered treasonous, and political strife arose between the Archbishop and the King, so Becket fled for his personal safety.

2. How does the Chorus perceive the actions of the play and its part in it?

The Chorus is the first character to recognize the oncoming danger in the play. The members consider themselves unwilling witnesses to a series of events that they believe can only end tragically.

3. What is the part of King Henry II in the play and what is his relationship with Becket?

Henry is an unseen character that serves as Becket's antagonist. Becket and Henry were once allies, but political differences have created a rift between them. The animosity the King felt towards Becket was a catalyst for the Archbishop's assassination, although it is doubtful that he actually ordered his former friend's murder.

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