Language and tone in Redemption


Although, as with the majority of Herbert poems, the language of Redemption is simple, it is also concise to the point of difficulty and requires careful consideration to extract the full meaning.

God's tone of voice

As in other poems, such as Love III, Herbert somehow contrives to give God a tone of voice. Even though he only says four words, there is kindness in them. It would appear the poet doesn't even have to make his request. The landlord knows already - and has taken action. The 'already happened' aspect of this action is heightened by the fact that Christ's words here are in fact a version of his words on the cross 'Consumatum est' John 19:30.

Investigating Redemption
  • Looking at Redemption as a whole
    • Can you set out the layers of meaning in the poem?
    • Does the simplicity of the language reveal or hide the meanings?
    • What would Herbert's first audience have gained from the poem as told?
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