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Jean Anouilh was born near Bordeaux, France, on June 23, 1910, to middle-class parents. Anouilh attended school in Paris and briefly studied law. During the years 1929–1931, he worked for an advertising agency and wrote two plays as well as comic gags for the cinema. In 1931, his play premiered in Paris. From this point on, he achieved growing success in theater. In 1936, Anouilh's play () became his first financial success. This play was made into a film in 1945 called .

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The other characters made little appearances. Pope Alexander III is seen in only one scene. Becket asks the pope for protection and requests the removal of his title as Archbishop of Canterbury. The pope gives him a haven, but will not allow him to give up his title or position. According to texts, the pope was already in a quarrel with the Emperor of Germany and did not want another royal leader against him. King Louis VII of France had a short role in hiding Becket and providing an escort to the pope for him. The French king was played very well in his actions and speech. He followed the rules of courtly courtesy and provided Henry’s messengers, the Bishop of London and the sheriff, nice quarters for three days but did not see them. What the film did not emphasize on was the King’s bitter feelings against England and his desire to retrieve French lands attained by the English. In history and the film, he did grow to love Becket.

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These last two characters played hardly any role, but without them neither Henry nor Becket would get where they were. Queen Matilda, actually called Empress due to her previous marriage to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was Henry’s mother and fought a war against her cousin Stephen of Blois for England in 1135. Being the daughter of Henry I she believed after his death she would succeed him, but Stephen convinced the barons and church who took an oath to support her otherwise. Matilda went to war with her cousin and after several battles in 1148 gave up her right as Queen of England. Although she was defeated, she knew her son, Henry II, was the only heir to the throne since Stephen had no living son. Henry owed much to her, but in the film shows no appreciation. In fact, she was not even supposed to be in England during her later years, but in Rouen, Normandy where she retired. The other character, Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, is only shown in a council with Henry in the beginning of the film and then died. He acts surprised with Henry’s decision to make Becket chancellor, but is actually the one who suggested the move to Henry. Theobald was the first person of rank to notice Becket and made him a clerk; therefore, he provided a way for Becket to rise up as chancellor and archbishop.

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Queen Eleanor, Henry’s wife played by Pamela Brown, did not appear very often in the film. When she was in the scene she usually talked back to Henry and comforted the children when the king grew angry with them. This view is very accurate of Eleanor. In history, she was a very strong, independent woman who was just as ambitious as her husband. Henry’s unfaithfulness to her provoked anger and sarcasm. In the movie, Eleanor disliked Becket and after his murder revealed her envy for the archbishop who even in death consumed the king’s thoughts and love. Based on Eleanor’s true character this envy was probably genuine, but it is recorded that she did grieve over Becket.

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The cleverness of Becket is noticeable throughout the whole movie. He was an educated man with a quick thinking. His ethical and aesthetical standards and his loyalty to the King were also well sketched. Other scenes were the "marches" through France, where they fought without a fight and marched through the city.

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The conflicts found in the movie are extremely important to the overall plot. The main conflict was between church and state. The film accurately described the problems of the time, but failed to mention why and how England got in the situation it was in. Henry II wanted all the rights the king had during his grandfather’s time. Henry I. He desired a restricted church and a powerful justice system. This problem took root right after King Henry I’s death. With Henry I, (1100 to 1135), the church did not hold much power in justice matters and had to pay land taxes to the king. After Henry’s death, the only heir was his daughter Matilda, previously discussed. Her cousin Stephen of Blois took England with much persuasion and a war was fought from 1135-1148. The importance of the civil war was that the church was not tied to the state but set up its own law, known as canon law, and took over financial and educational matters. Henry II not understanding how far the church had come, demanded the old rights back. The church must pay taxes and the clergy tried for any crimes must be put to trial in the secular courts instead of the clerical ones. Henry disliked the church’s punishments of church officials because they were so light that many sex offenders or murderers were set free. The church under Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, would not submit. When Theobald died, Henry decided that his chancellor Thomas Becket would become the new Archbishop and stomp out these discipline problems. Becket, who had been chancellor from 1154 to 1162 eventually agreed, and, despite the protests from monks and bishops, was made Archbishop of Canterbury.