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Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's LawsPerspectives on the Law of War in the Later Middle Ages$
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Theodor Meron

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198258117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198258117.001.0001

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Responsibility of Princes

Responsibility of Princes

(p.64) 5 Responsibility of Princes
Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws

Theodor Meron

Oxford University Press

Shakespeare portrayed how Henry had his disguised troops conversed with a soldier called Williams regarding issues on how princes had spiritual responsibility for the casualties and death of soldiers during both unjust and just occurrences in war. By looking into how Shakespeare's expressed such conversations, a Christian view point can be seen, one which shows how the people who died in war were not given opportunities to attain repentance so therefore would be sentenced to eternal damnation. Also, this chapter examines the legal point of view. In relation to the issue about whether Kings should be liable for the damnation of soldiers who failed to repent before their deaths, Henry distinguished the authorized acts that involved military duties which the King was without a doubt responsible for, and the private acts that he should not be deemed responsible for, for such acts are determined by an individual's soul.

Keywords:   Williams, spiritual responsibility, Christian perspective, individual soul, repentance, eternal damnation, personal acts, authorized acts, soldiers

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