Murder in the Cathedral

Murder in the Cathedral - T.S. Eliot

The Basics


An historical play written in verse that tells of the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170.


My Thoughts


Talk about going outside of your comfort zone. I don't read a lot of poetry. I don't read a lot of plays. And I don't read a lot of historical fiction. That title, though. I couldn't resist that title. Also, T.S. Eliot is a famous poet, and I've read some of his more famous works, enough to make me intrigued when I see his name. In the end, what can I say? I enjoyed it.


There are some stories that, while the plot may be vaguely intriguing and you could cite only having somewhat of an interest in what goes on, the language makes it. The style and the poetry and the language are what makes this sing. Particularly the passages for the female chorus. I'm not saying the story isn't interesting, because it is. But it's also very basic. The Archbishop is in a bad position politically, he won't do what he's told by the higher-ups, so he dies. There are no surprises here, but the way Eliot chooses to tell the story, everything from word choices to the style of the play, makes up for a lot.


The one thing that felt like a completely bizarre choice on Eliot's part was a portion of the play when the knights step forward to tell their tale. It seemed humorous to me, and I can't honestly tell if it was supposed to be funny. That's maybe its weakest spot, but it's a nitpick when really I was reading this play to experience some great poetry, and I received that.


Final Rating