How Thomas Becket Attracted Much Criticism English Literature Essay

September 12, 2017 English Literature

Thomas Becket attracted much unfavorable judgment during his life, in both secular and ecclesiastical circles. Yet, he came to be considered one of the greatest and most popular saints of the 12th century, canonised for his service to the Church despite the fact that it was from the Church constitution that he received some of his greatest ailments. This ample disagreement between how Thomas Becket was treated contemporaneously and how he was remembered is the topic of this essay, which will see chiefly the ways in which Becket ‘s biographers – William Fitzstephen, William of Canterbury, Edward Grim, Guernes of Pont-St Maxence and Benedict of Peterborough – transformed this controversial figure into a national hero. They achieved this by a retracing the life and decease of Beckett as a dramatic, martyrological narration, and underscoring his immense virtuousness in both civil and religious personal businesss.

To get down with, this essay is traveling to concentrate specially on four Thomas Becket ‘s biographers who tell us those last minutes of Thomas Becket ‘s lives in London. From these first beginnings we can see the histories of several authors in which most of them describe their concluding minutes with Thomas Becket. In order to make this, the essay is divided into three chief subdivisions, a brief history of the facts environing Thomas Becket ‘s slaying. Then it focuses peculiarly in four different authors, as they have wider information more relevant for this essay and eventually the decision.

On 29th December 1170, ‘Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury was slaying in his church by four baronial knights from the house clasp of his Godhead and former frequenter and friend, King Henry II ( aˆ¦ ) The horror which the violent death inspired and the marvelous remedies performed at his grave transfigured the victim into one of the most popular saints in the late-medieval calendar and made Canterbury one of the greatest pilgrim shrines in the West ‘ . ( Thomas Becket frank Barlow, page 1 )

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2 partThese authors were monastics or clerks. None of them were biographers or historiographers and for all of them these histories were their first publication except John of Salisbury. Nevertheless all of them show an impressive cognition of the Bible and Christian traditions as they frequently connect the facts with citations from it, such a: ‘The righteous will be brave as a king of beasts without fright ‘ ( proverbs 28:1 ) or ‘For in such a instance one ought non fly from the metropolis ‘ ( Matthew 10:23 ) or ‘By your words you will be justified ‘ ( Matthew 12:37 ) . ( estonto )

First of all, William Fitzstephens, one of the authors who knew him best ( Thomas Becker Frank Barlow page 3 ) and who witnessed Thomas Becket ‘s slaying, was a clerk who served Thomas as Chancellor of the Exchequer and subsequently as archbishop. He gave history of Thomas as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Thomas ‘s test at Northampton against the male monarch. In the first 1 he highlights Thomas ‘s ‘generosity and grounds of virtue, which are ingrained in his bosom ‘ every bit good as Thomas ‘s humbleness – for case he declared ‘truly I know three hapless priest in England, any of whom I would take for publicity to the archiepiscopate before me ‘ .

Second, we have William of Canterbury, a monastic ordained deacon by Thomas ( Thomas Beckets, F barrow page 4 ) and present in the Cathedral when Thomas was murdered. William focuses more on the alteration of bosom of Thomas as ‘He set out to regenerate the old adult male ‘ when he became archbishop in 1162 as `if transformed into another adult male ‘

Third, Edward Grim, a clerk and maestro from Cambridge, who besides witnessed Thomas Becket ‘s slaying. He attempted to protect Thomas and because of that he got injured in one of his weaponries. He made his instance really clearly that Thomas Becket was a saint with remarks like `They came together against the inexperienced person ‘ , ‘the holy adult male ‘ .

Finally, Benedict of Peterborough, monastic of Canterbury who focused on the wake of Thomas Becket ‘s slaying. He was the 1 who said: “ The monastics looked at each other, and were astonished at this position of concealed faith beyond what could hold been believed ( that Thomas before his decease was have oning a hair shirt ) , and with their sorrow therefore multiply, so were their cryings ” ( estonto page 49 ) . He besides told us that Thomas Becket appeared in vision to many people: ‘His face however seemed wholly free from blood, except for a thin line, which descended from the right temple to the left cheek traversing the olfactory organ. Indeed with this grade he subsequently appeared in visions to many who knew nil at about this, who otherwise non adverting it, described it as if they had seen it with their ain eyes ‘ ( papers from Benedict of Peterborough ) . Another interesting narrative is that when Thomas was still puting on the pavement people got every bit much things as they could such a hair, beads of blood, pieces of vestments, etc. cognizing that they were taking the remains of a “ cherished hoarded wealth ” ( papers from Benedict of Peterborough ) . In add-on Benedict was the adult male in charge of entering the miracles reported by the visitants of the shrine. ( Estonto page 49 ) . Subsequently Benedict became first keeper of the shrine.

But, is because they were monastics that they wrote such a thing on favor of Thomas Becket, giving a really colored place towards Thomas Becket?

Most of these authors, apart from being clerks or monastics really friendly with Thomas, and if they wrote such a thing is because they considered him as a saint and besides because it is natural and just that the authors as of Thomas wrote the histories with such fond regard and grasp.

It would be good to indicate out that the fact that these writers were either monastics or clerks does non needfully intend that they were biased in favor of Thomas, because as it was highlighted above, the unfavorable judgments against Thomas Becket within the Church. Therefore it would be really simplistic to presume that the writers have been biased.

Apart from that, we have some facts from these first beginnings that tell us Thomas Becket was a saint – For illustration, his enemies, in general, accused him for non holding obvious marks of piousness. However, demoing external marks of piousness is non a necessarily status for sanctity in the Church. It is good that people saw him praying frequently but what truly affairs to be a saint is personal praying. Otherwise it could be fall into a hypocritical attitude.

Gilbert Foliot was one of those within the Church that criticised most in his missive Multiplicen Nobis in which he said that Thomas used his influence in the Royal Court to go archbishop. That could be true, but in that instance, it would non do much sense that he was have oning a hair shirt after his slaying, as he was founded in the cathedral. In general a spiritual individual who looks for power does non look for chagrin but to be affluent and powerful.

To sum up, these paperss have had a large impact throughout history, as it is one of the chief histories of the event of the slaying of Thomas Becket. Furthermore, it gives us a gustatory sensation of the Pope ‘s function throughout history and the imperial power of the Roman Empire in Europe.


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