Why Is, 'Murder In The Cathedral' A Poetic Drama?


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Florent Lefortier Profile
The answer to that is quite simple, really - Murder in the Cathedral is classed as a poetic drama because it’s a piece of drama written in verse!

What Is Murder In The Cathedral?
Murder in the Cathedral is a poetic drama by T. S. Eliot and was first performed in 1935.

It tells the story of the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket, which happened in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.

Murder in the Cathedral was written during the rise of Fascism in mainland Europe, which began a few years before World War II.

As the play deals with opposing authority, it’s often thought to be politically-relevant to the time it was written, and some readers believed that it was encouraging people to oppose the Nazi regime (in particular, its subversion and distortion of Christian beliefs).

What Makes Murder in the Cathedral A Poetic Drama?
Well, Murder in the Cathedral is written in verse, and is meant to be performed aloud rather than read in silence. Some parts of the drama are even written in rhyming couplets:

Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain: Temptation shall not come in this kind again. The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.
As the text’s main themes are power and religion - both of which are quite serious themes - Murder in the Cathedral pretty much lends itself to being a drama. It was performed in theaters like a drama, too!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
A poetic drama is a work of art written in form of a poem.

By poem, I mean it is written into lines or verses. Murder in the Cathedral therefore qualifies to be a poetic drama due to its poetic nature.

Unlike the poetic dramas of Shakespeare, Murder in the Cathedral has rather lenghtened lines and an irregular rhyming pattern. There is also the occasional use the iambic pentermeter foot.

All these are pointers to the fact that Murder in the Cathedral is in the class of a poetic drama.

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