First published in 1935, T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral tells the story of the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Becket has returned to England after a seven year exile to find himself in deadly peril. He has incurred the wrath of the reigning King Henry II, who sought to consolidate political and religious power in the office of Archbishop of Canterbury, by refusing to comply with the king's agenda. Urged alternately to treason, forgiveness, and reconciliation, Becket resists all advice to come to peaceful terms with Henry and instead resolves himself to a martyr's death. That death comes in the form of four knights, ostensibly under the authority of the king, who murder Becket in the cathedral and give the drama its title.
Murder in the Cathedral is a relatively short play with only two scenes and an interlude. This is a drama that I would like to see staged as the script itself does not include much in the way of stage directions or notes that would help a reader to visualize the action.
I read this play as part of Sarah's Back to the Classics challenge.