Friendship of Thomas Beckett and Henry II

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The friendship between Thomas Becket and Henry II in early English history begins to dissolve due to their differing ideas and beliefs. Initially, their friendship is strengthened through Becket’s appointment as chancellor of the kingdom and later as archbishop of Canterbury. However, Becket’s devotion to religion and his stance as a defender of the church against royal encroachment and champion of papal ideology leads to disagreements with Henry II. Attempts to settle their differences through various meetings fail, and their friendship is further eroded when Becket demands justice for a murdered girl, and Henry II excommunicates the perpetrator instead. Becket gives up his Lord Chancellor ring, and Henry II commands his men to kill Becket while he is praying. This illustrates how a good friendship can weaken and dissolve due to disagreements and differences in ideas.

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“Friendship often does collapse over such unjust ideas. ” This quote alone illustrates the dissolution of friendship that occurs between Thomas Becket and Henry II in early English history.

What would one think if a trusted friend turns on them and stabs them in the back? Certain situations in the lives of Thomas Becket and Henry II build up then dissolve their friendship. Thomas Becket and Henry II create and strengthen their friendship in many ways. First of all, King Henry II appoints Becket to be chancellor of his kingdom.Secondly, whenever they open council in the castle, they always agree with each other and rarely ever argue.

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If they do argue, Becket is the one who submits to the kingly power of Henry II. Lastly, Becket’s work as chancellor satisfies Henry II so much that he appoints Becket to be the archbishop of Canterbury. Becket and Henry’s friendship grows stable for now, but not for long. Henry II is disappointed with how Becket approaches the honor of being archbishop of Canterbury.

Once Becket takes the dubbing of archbishop of Canterbury he vows to fulfill all religious actions that need to be taken.He devotes his life to religion. He wants to do the right things for the church and the kingdom, but Henry II does not like the fact that Becket becomes a militant defender of the church against royal encroachment and a champion of the papal ideology of ecclesiastical supremacy over the lay world. The disagreement of each other’s ideas triggers the collapse of their friendship.

The obliteration of Becket and Henry’s friendship happened in many ways. When their ideas clash, they realize how much they actually hate each other.They try to settle out their differences for royal and church laws at the Constitutions of Clarendon and various other open council meetings, but to no avail these meetings could not provide any conclusions to the matter. Then a priest rapes and kills a girl.

A knight by the name of Lord Gilbert is outraged by this event and murders the priest. Becket feels that justice should be served and wants Henry II to charge Lord Gilbert with murder. Henry II excommunicates Lord Gilbert instead, but Becket and Henry are still disappointed at one another. Becket then gives up his Lord Chancellor ring, showing he is not a friend anymore.

Henry then commands his men to kill Becket, which they do while he is praying. Thus concludes the reasons for the dissolution of friendship between Thomas Becket and Henry II. The dissolution of friendship between Becket and Henry depicts the rising tide of friendship, which soon falls after resentment. They were true friends at first, but the accumulation of differences and ideas dissolved their friendship.

This clearly defines the fact that a good friendship can often weaken and dissolve at the expense of certain disagreements as quoted by Henry II; “friendship often does collapse over such unjust ideas. ”

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Friendship of Thomas Beckett and Henry II. (2018, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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