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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
The play is set in two locations, the Cathedral of Canterbury and the Archbishop's hall, as they existed in medieval England. The play opens at the point of Becket's arrival in Canterbury, at Christmas time, after seven years of sojourn in France.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the protagonist of the play. His character is basically drawn from historical sources during the later part of twelfth century. Becket was close to King Henry II, but differences in their attitudes toward power drew them apart.
The king who is never presented on stage, but whose invisible presence towers over the entire proceedings of the play. He is omnipresent.
The Women of Canterbury in the Chorus
They represent the voice of the common person. They sum up the past, bring the situation into the present, and express a lurking fear of Becket's doom, which the audience shares.
The Three Priests
They are genuinely worried about Becket's well being. They hold Becket in great respect and fear for his life.
The Four Tempters
The most important minor characters. They throw sidelights on Becket's character. They fail to tempt him with any of their proposals.
The Four Knights
Reginald Fitz Urse, Sir High de Morville, William de Traci and Richard Brito: they play the role of assassins of Becket, and Reginald Fitz Urse assumes the leader's role among them.
He breaks the news of Becket's arrival back home.