Significance of Becket's Silence Murder in the Cathedral

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      Murder in the Cathedral is a religious play. It is about Becket's martyrdom. A theme of martyrdom easily leads to the contemplation of the similarity between the martyr and Christ. However, in Becket's case, many critics feel that his situation is closer to that of Job' than that of Christ.

      The sermon of Becket. When Becket preaches his sermon he has achieved true humility that is the sign of a saint. He has spurned? the temptation to seek martyrdom for the sake of glory and now is ready for death in a spirit of humility.

The sermon of Becket. When Becket preaches his sermon he has achieved true humility that is the sign of a saint. He has spurned? the temptation to seek martyrdom for the sake of glory and now is ready for death in a spirit of humility.
Murder in the Catlhedral

      The temptations. If we compare Thomas with Christ we notice that there is a difference; Christ was assailed by three temptations whereas Thomas has to contend with four. But Job had four Comforters. In the case of Job, as in the case of Becket, it is the fourth visitor who is responsible for the attainment of self awareness of sin and in making the way clear for redemption. Also if we consider Thomas to be a Christ figure, there is no room left for any character development. It over-rules any consciousness of pride or sin in his nature.

      Becket expects only three temptations and is very surprised when the fourth Tempter arrives. The significance of the fourth Tempter is to impress upon Thomas that he is not a Christ figure. Furthermore, the temptations of Thomas are different in quality from those of Christ. The first three temptations of Thomas are more or less retrospective in nature whereas the temptations of Christ are real and crucial.

      The arrival of the fourth and unexpected Tempter serves to define exactly for Becket his state of mortal sin and reduces him to despair. In the case of his silence towards the end of Part I, Becket thinks about the situation and realises that he has to overcome his sin of pride and self will so as to become a true servant of God.

      Other parallels between Thomas and Job. Both Thomas and Job suffer because of their devotion to God. They are both made to realise their sinfulness by the fourth visitor and both are narrowly saved from the damnation which their pride would have brought them.

      In the silence towards the end of Part I, Becket could be said to have received some kind of illumination corresponding to the Voice of God speaking to Job out of the whirlwind. Just as Job is rewarded with what he desired, wordly prosperity, Thomas is rewarded with what he desired, the attainment of sainthood through martyrdom in the right spirit.

University Questions also can be Answered:

Q. What is the significance of Becket's silence towards the end of Part I of Murder in the Cathedral ?

Or

Q. "The situation of Becket corresponds more closely with that of Job than that of Christ and his temptations at the hands of the devil". Discuss.

Or

Q. What are the objections against identifying Becket with Christ.

Or

Q. What is the special significance of the fact that Becket has to face four tempters although he expected only three ?

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