T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral tells the story of Thomas Beckett, a man who reigned as Archbishop of Canterbury during the 12th century in England until his death in 1170. In order to tell Beckett's story, Eliot creates a series of equally interesting characters that each play a crucial role thought the play. The most unique rolefound within the play is the Women ofCanterbury, or the Chorus. Throughout the piece, the Chorus delivers seven choral odes. These choral odes, when looked at as a collective work tell a story. They begin with brief foreshadowing of events that will occur later in the play, but then quickly jump into necessary storyline; one which summarizes the events of the pasts, and then immerses the audience into the…show more content… Later in the choral ode, the women say, "We are afraid in a fear which we cannot know, which we cannot face, which none understands." This illustrates thedepth and complexity of the fear which they are facing, for they know not how to neither combat it nor completely comprehend it. All the people know is that with Thomas comes death upon their home of Canterbury, so the beg him to "leave us, leave us, leave us sullen Dover, andset sail for France."
The fear of the second choral ode becomes a reality in the third. The Women of Canterbury know what decision Beckett has made. They tell him, "We have not been happy, my Lord, we have not been too happy. We are not ignorant women, we know what we must expect and not expect." By saying this, the Women of Canterbury mean that they understandthe consequences that Thomas has chosen by staying in Canterbury. They know that he will perish if he stays. Then the women begin to despair. They cry, "God gave us always some reason, some hope; but now a new terror has soiled us, which none can avert," and, "God is leaving us, God is leaving us, more pang, more pain than birth or death." The Women of Canterbury, who always took faith in the idea the God was protecting their Archbishop, believe that Thomas has turned away from the Lord's protection by deciding to remain at Canterbury, for not even God could protect him from the wrath of what was yet to come.