Themes in "Kingdom of Heaven"

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About this sample


Words: 635 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 635|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024


Ridley Scott’s 2005 film "Kingdom of Heaven" delves into the complex historical context of the Crusades, exploring not just the military conflicts but also the intricate themes of faith, redemption, and tolerance. Set against the backdrop of the 12th-century Holy Land, the film follows Balian of Ibelin, a blacksmith who becomes a knight and defends Jerusalem. Through Balian’s journey, "Kingdom of Heaven" grapples with profound questions about the nature of faith, the possibility of redemption, and the necessity of tolerance in a world fraught with religious and cultural divisions. This essay seeks to analyze these central themes and their significance within the narrative.

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Body Paragraph 1: The Theme of Faith

Faith is a pervasive theme in "Kingdom of Heaven," manifested in various forms and characters. Balian's journey begins with a crisis of faith following the death of his wife, which catalyzes his departure from France to the Holy Land. Throughout the film, faith is depicted not as blind adherence to dogma but as a personal and evolving journey. For instance, Balian’s mentor, Godfrey of Ibelin, embodies a pragmatic form of faith, emphasizing actions over rituals. This is evident in his advice to Balian: “Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.” Balian’s own faith evolves from skepticism to a belief in a higher moral code, rather than strict religious observance. This nuanced portrayal of faith highlights its multifaceted nature, suggesting that true faith is found in compassionate deeds and moral integrity rather than in rigid doctrines.

Body Paragraph 2: The Theme of Redemption

Redemption is another core theme in the film, explored through the protagonist’s internal and external battles. Balian’s quest for redemption is initially personal, rooted in his guilt over his wife’s suicide and his own perceived sins. His journey to Jerusalem symbolizes a pilgrimage not just to a holy city but toward his own spiritual renewal. The character of Saladin also embodies the theme of redemption, particularly in his acts of mercy towards the defeated Crusaders and the citizens of Jerusalem. Saladin’s decision to allow the Christians to leave Jerusalem safely, rather than exacting revenge, underscores the notion that redemption is achievable through mercy and forgiveness. These narrative arcs emphasize that redemption is a process requiring both internal reflection and outward acts of grace.

Body Paragraph 3: The Theme of Tolerance

One of the film’s most compelling themes is tolerance, particularly in the context of religious and cultural coexistence. The historical setting of the Crusades provides a stark contrast to this ideal, yet the film posits tolerance as a necessary virtue for peace. Balian’s defense of Jerusalem is not portrayed as a defense of Christianity alone but as a defense of a city that belongs to people of multiple faiths. This is highlighted in his interactions with Muslim characters, such as Imad ad-Din, who becomes an ally despite the broader conflict between their peoples. The film’s conclusion, with Balian and Saladin acknowledging each other’s honor and humanity, underscores the possibility of mutual respect and understanding even amidst profound differences. Through these interactions, "Kingdom of Heaven" advocates for tolerance as essential for coexistence, suggesting that humanity's commonalities can transcend religious and cultural divides.


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"Kingdom of Heaven" is a rich tapestry of themes that resonate with both historical and contemporary relevance. The film’s exploration of faith, redemption, and tolerance offers a nuanced perspective on the human condition, emphasizing the importance of personal integrity, the possibility of forgiveness, and the necessity of mutual respect. By presenting these themes within the context of the Crusades, the film invites viewers to reflect on the complexities of history and the enduring need for compassion and understanding in a divided world. Ridley Scott’s cinematic vision thus serves not only as an epic historical narrative but also as a profound meditation on the virtues that can unite humanity despite its differences.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Themes in “Kingdom of Heaven”. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“Themes in “Kingdom of Heaven”.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Themes in “Kingdom of Heaven”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Themes in “Kingdom of Heaven” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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