Jean Anouilh Writing Styles in Becket, or the Honor of God

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Flashback

Anouilh chooses to construct Becket through a device known as "flashback." That is, the opening scene chronologically takes place after the entire action of the rest of the play. When Henry appears naked on the altar of Canterbury Cathedral, ready to receive his flogging at the hands of the monks, in penance for the murder of Becket, he creates for the audience the rest of the play. As a device, flashback allows a playwright to play with time; events are sequenced as the character remembers them. In addition, the use of flashback allows Anouilh to compress the historical events (which took place over sixteen years) into a series of vignettes or tableaux lasting only the length of the play. Flashback can, however, diminish the element of suspense in a literary work, as the audience knows events before they happen. In some ways, a flashback allows the audience to...

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This section contains 691 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Becket, or the Honor of God Study Guide
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Becket, or the Honor of God from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.