Tag Archives: Harry

The Economics of Redemption

In his play Henry IV Part I, Shakespeare juxtaposes a sample of Henry IV’s time as king against the economic and social tensions during his reign. These tensions, for Henry, run particularly high given his questionable rise to power. Because Henry claimed the throne by waging war against Richard III, his rule could in many ways be viewed as illegitimate. As such, he finds himself racing against time to unite the people whom he divided when stealing the country from Richard. Henry plans to achieve this end by shifting attention away from his questionable ascent and onto a Crusade. It seems as though his expectation is that waging a Holy War will redeem himself to his people and so secure his rule. His idea introduces redemption as having religious roots. However, when tracking the word redeem, this sacred concept is revealed to have a far more secular meaning than initially implied. Continue reading