Essay: The Devilish Doctrine of Deniability

"We know perfectly well how things will turn out," the knight explained, his armor probably still smeared with the blood of Archbishop Thomas a Becket. "King Henry—God bless him—will have to say, for reasons of state, that he never meant this to happen; and there is going to be an awful row ..."

So said Sir William de Tracy when he stepped forward at the end of T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral to tell why he and three other loyal servants of Britain's King Henry II had just carried out the poisonous wish implicit in the King's angry question, "Will...

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