As the title says, how do I understand the word - "redemption" in the context?

Is the second definition in Lexico more appropriate?

  1. the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.

My thought is that Andy regained his freedom in exchange for his 19 years in Shawshank prison.

Is that correct?

  • It's one of my favourite movies, and the title has never made sense to me
    – gotube
    Aug 4, 2022 at 0:03

2 Answers 2


There is a religious sense: to be saved from a state of sin. Wikipdia explains:

In Christian theology, redemption (Greek: apolutrosis) refers to the deliverance of Christians from sin. It assumes an important position in salvation because the transgressions in question form part of a great system against which human power is helpless. Leon Morris says that "Paul uses the concept of redemption primarily to speak of the saving significance of the death of Christ." In the New Testament, the redemption word group is used to refer both to deliverance from sin and freedom from captivity.

The title of the film plays off this religious sense. It isn't a standard meaning of the word, and would not normally be used in this sense, except in a religious context.

  • I think the title is also connected to the bible which Andy, a person wrongfully convicted of murder, kept in his prison cell. Near the end of the movie it plays a significant role in helping Andy to escape prison.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 4, 2022 at 6:46
  • @James The biblical meaning of redemption makes sense to me. The Bible also appears multiple times in the movie. Speaking of the movie title, it could mean God's deliverance of Andy from sin or Andy's final freedom from captivity, right?
    – H.Li
    Aug 4, 2022 at 15:34
  • Yes, but I don't think you should take it too literally. It is just a title, not an essay.
    – James K
    Aug 4, 2022 at 17:01

I suppose it is used in this meaning:

'The action of redeeming.' (Colour Oxford English Dictionary)

In the movie, the main character redeemed his dignity, proved his innocence.

  • As I recall, Andy was not given the opportunity to prove his innocence to the authorities although it became apparent to the warden (who had a witness killed). And he didn't regain his freedom in exchange for his imprisonment. He simply escaped to Mexico with the proceeds that he had been assisting the warden to bank illegally. Aug 3, 2022 at 23:37
  • As an English learner, I have to ask you what's the meaning of redeeming then. Could you please show me the definition of redeem which you think is appropriate?
    – H.Li
    Aug 4, 2022 at 0:24

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