Essay on The Sinful King and His Virtuous Friend

Submitted By iTzKT
Words: 892
Pages: 4

In the story of Becket, King Henry of England and Thomas Becket are the greatest of friends despite their origins - Henry, a Norman, and Becket, a Saxon. Even so, Henry places great trust in Becket, promoting him to positions such as Chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury. However, their friendship ends, due to the many differences between them, ultimately ending with the death of Becket. In the film, Becket, based on the novel by Jean Anouilh, Henry’s abuse of the 7 Deadly Sins shows himself to be more cruel than Thomas Becket, who reveals goodness in the 7 Heavenly Virtues.
Throughout the film, King Henry constantly shows his usage of the 7 Deadly Sins. Henry displays his desire for lust mainly by sleeping with any woman he wishes. For example, before a battle against France, Henry brings a French woman to his tent and proceeds to fill his thirst for sex. He mainly see women as necessities to fulfill his need for lust. Another deadly sin Henry exhibits is Gluttony. During a feast, Henry rests on his throne, eating and drinking, while watching his men throw food at one another, which amuses him. He begins a toast, saying “Let us drink, gentlemen. Let us drink, till we roll under the table in vomit and oblivion” (Becket), which shows his approval getting drunk for the sake of fun. Next, would be his sin of Greed. Near the beginning of the film, Henry desires more money in order to fight the French and looks to the Church to extort money out of them. Despite the Church constantly refusing to pay him, Henry persists and implies that force may be used to get what he wants. Sloth shows his unwillingness and laziness to do anything, especially when Beckett no longer attends to him. Normally, Beckett would make Henry wash himself, but now, Henry never washes now, and in turn, stinks. Another way he displays sloth is the way he sees God. He believes that he is above God, and that the Church is just a nuisance. Throughout the movie, Henry constantly explodes in anger, which describes another deadly sin, Wrath. Any scene involving his family ends up with him being enraged at them for any reason. He even shoves his “royal foot up [his son’s] royal buttocks” (Becket), all while mocking that his son, Henry III, is not king until his own father dies. His wrath is also heavily displayed towards Beckett, when the latter chose God over him. His wrath leads him to plot against Becket, ultimately ending with the loss of who he considered a dear friend. Envy leads Henry to take Beckett’s mistress, Gwendolen, away from Beckett, in order to have her for himself and only himself. Henry has great pride as the King of England, constantly bellowing “I am the King!” He believes that as King, he dominates everything, and everything is inferior to him, even God. These 7 deadly sins display Henry as a cruel and unjust person, who believes that he is absolute in any way possible.
On the other hand, Thomas Becket is the opposite of King Henry due to his righteousness through the use of the 7 Heavenly Virtues. Becket expresses the first Virtue, Love, by showing his love towards the Saxon people, as he himself is Saxon. When Henry and Becket finds shelter in a home of a Saxon family, the son of the family assaults Becket. Becket receives an injury and when Henry asks about it, Becket simply lies in order…