Prufrock, Caulfield, Becket

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Terry Schreiber told me to read Murder in the Cathedral, by T.S. Eliot, after watching me do a scene from Becket, by Jean Anouilh.
To sum up… Becket was the Chancellor of England made so by King Henry II (his best friend). Due to power struggles between the King and Church, King Henry ordered Becket to be ordained as the Archbishop of Canterbury (a step below the Pope), in order to have ‘one of his men’ dipping his hand toward the King’s favor. Unfortunately (for both), Becket treated his position with such serious ferocity that he alienated himself from the task forcing his best friend (the King) to take action and eventually have Becket killed.
Murder in the Cathedral, is another play about this actual event in history, with loads of information on what was going on inside Becket’s mind. This part deals with his fear of death and ultimate betrayal of the one man who loved him.

“Does the watchmen walk by the wall?
Does the mastiff prowl by the gate?
Death has a hundred hands and walks by a thousand ways.
He may come in sight of all, he may come unseen unheard.
Come whispering through the ear, or a shock on the skull.
A man may sit at meat, and feel the cold in his groin.”

T.S. Eliot is a fucking pimp. Born in St. Louis, Missouri. Entered Harvard at eighteen. Moved to London in his mid-twenties. Said, “[My poetry] wouldn’t be what it is if I’d been born in England, and it wouldn’t be what it is if I’d stayed in America. It’s a combination of things. But in its sources, in its emotional springs, it comes from America.” And wrote The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock…..

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

Which is the 1915 version of Salinger’s, Holden Caulfield…

“I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park South. I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the ducks go? I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away.”

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