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Jean Anouilh
Riverhead Books
ISBN: 1573225088
Pages: 118
Format: Softcover
Quantity in stock: 2


Price: $11.00 (inc GST)

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Portrays the conflict of loyalties between church and state as they influenced the lives of two powerful men in English history.

Anouilh's play anatomises the relationship between the Norman Henry II and Saxon Thomas a Becket, 100 years after William the Conqueror.

In their younger days, there is a great deal of camaraderie and male bonding, in some ways reminiscent of that between Henry V and Falstaff, as the pair spend ten years together "hunting, whoring and warring". Perhaps surprisingly, at no point is there any suggestion of homosexual overtones.

Anouilh has a slight problem in introducing the transformation by which the King's drinking pal becomes Archbishop of Canterbury. While it is clear to see that Henry is dissatisfied with the financial restraints forced on him by the Church, there seems no internal logic to the appointment.

It is also a little hard to see why the high living Becket would give up all his worldly goods for a hair shirt, in the days when jewels and riches were the norm.

The play takes on a new hardness once the two men are pitted in opposition to each other and there is never a doubt as to who will be the moral and mental winner.

Becket is a fascinating historical play that helps to put into context Shakespeare's histories.

Becket may not be the perfectly constructed play but it is constantly gripping and the battle between two great men holds the imagination throughout. The subject-matter may sound forbidding. However, as delivered at the Haymarket it is rarely heavy and is often highly entertaining.

Elizabeth's Bookshops have been one of Australia's premier independent book dealers since 1973. Elizabeth's family-owned business operates four branches in Perth CBD, Fremantle (WA), and Newtown (NSW). All orders are dispatched within 24 hours from our Fremantle Warehouse. All items can be viewed at Elizabeth's Bookshop Warehouse, 23 Queen Victoria Street, Fremantle WA

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