Murder in the Cathedral

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Hugh de Melville, designated as the third knight, begins his speech by echoing Reginald Fitz Urse’s comments about the tendencies of English people to be fair and logical in their thinking, refraining from making judgments sourced solely in their emotions. He argues that Becket basically conned the king by advocating for all the king’s policies and agreeing to take on the office of Chancellor in addition to the role of Archbishop, but then—suddenly, upon being appointed to it—resigning from the Chancellorship. Melville therefore offers not just an argument in defense of his own dignity and morality—like de Traci—but a well-argued, reasoned indictment of Becket’s political actions. He gives the most convincing argument from the perspective of the political dimension of the play (versus the spiritual) that Becket was, indeed, a traitor to the king.

Third Knight (Hugh de Melville) Quotes in Murder in the Cathedral

The Murder in the Cathedral quotes below are all either spoken by Third Knight (Hugh de Melville) or refer to Third Knight (Hugh de Melville). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Worldly Power vs. Spiritual Power  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt edition of Murder in the Cathedral published in 1964.
Part 2 Quotes

It is not I who insult the King. . .
It is not against me, Becket, that you strive.
It is not Becket who pronounces doom,
But the Law of Christ’s Church, the judgement of Rome.

Related Characters: Thomas Becket (speaker), First Knight (Reginald Fitz Urse), Second Knight (William de Traci), Third Knight (Hugh de Melville), Fourth Knight (Richard Brito), King Henry II
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Becket addresses the four knights, who’ve accused him of betraying the king, calling him the one who’s ultimately responsible for the king’s condemnation by the Pope.

Becket asserts that he’s not the one who is truly responsible, but that he was just following the orders of the Pope (who was viewed as the direct voice of God). He claims to be the executor of a law higher than his own powers and command, acting as an instrument of a spiritual order of which he’s merely the mouthpiece—it’s not “Becket” who’s giving the commands, but Christ’s Law and the judgment of Rome. This instant is another example of Becket affirming himself as merely channeling the will of God, having submitted himself wholly to Christ.


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Third Knight (Hugh de Melville) Character Timeline in Murder in the Cathedral

The timeline below shows where the character Third Knight (Hugh de Melville) appears in Murder in the Cathedral. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Worldly Power vs. Spiritual Power  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Guilt Theme Icon
The third knight, Hugh de Morville, argues that Becket utterly lied to the king and betrayed the power he was given.... (full context)