Becket Essay, Research Paper
Summary of Becket by Jean Anouilh
Becket is a movie that portrays the conflict of power between the throne and the church. It is the story of Henry II and his companion Thomas Becket. The movie begins by giving a brief summary of the history up to the point where the movie begins. This information is crucial to the understanding of the situation. William the Conqueror and his Norman troops defeated the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings. William?s great grandson, Henry II, continues to rule over the Saxon peasants. This informative movie begins with Henry II kneeling at Becket?s tomb recalling what happened between the two. The movie then flashes back to the beginning.
Becket was Henry?s right hand man. Henry always had problems with the church over who had more power. When the Archbishop of Canterbury passed on, Henry decided to appoint Becket as the new Archbishop. In Henry?s eyes, Becket would agree with anything Henry said; thus, this would end the competition of the church with his power. Although Becket was just a church deacon, Henry figured his decision was brilliant. Henry then decided he wanted Gwendolyn, Becket?s one true love. Gwendolyn, who was truly in love with Becket, despised this decision and killed herself. This action was one that Becket would never forgive Henry for.
Henry was ultimately surprised when Becket began to take his job as the Archbishop of Canterbury very seriously. Becket fought for power for the church and went against the word of Henry. Becket gave Henry the best fight since the defeat of the Saxons. In the end, Henry?s barons killed Becket. Henry accepted to receive lashes for the death of Becket to calm the upset Saxons. Henry received these lashes kneeling in front of Becket?s tomb. This movie clearly illustrated the struggle of power between the throne and the church. Henry?s unfair decision of appointing Becket as the Archbishop led to the gain of power for the church.