Becket: Jean Anouilh's Tony winning play, alternatively titled The Honor of God, dramatizes the historical conflict between King Henry II and Thomas Becket, ending with Becket's murder by the King's loyalists in 1170. Anouil opens the play with a penitent King Henry awaiting punishment at the hands of the Church for his part in Becket's death. Kneeling in the Cathedral, King Henry recalls the tortured sequence of events that brought him there. A friend of King Henry from more carefree days, Thomas Becket quickly gains respect in several ecclesiastical posts, eventually becoming Lord Chancellor and protecting King Henry's revenue sources both without and within the Church's estates. King Henry names Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, believing his friend will support his efforts to expand civil power over the Church. Becket instead delves into his faith, using the post to work against King Henry's efforts. The political tensions between the two men spiral when Becket refuses to sign King Henry's Constitutions of Clarendon, particularly for the document's abolishment of the protection of “criminous clerics” from the civil courts.
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