I agree with the escapist that the song has to do with Jesus Christ from a Catholic perspective. I drew the conclusion from the following excerpt which I read in wikipedia: Coldplay took a break from recording and toured Latin America in early 2007, including shows in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. The band revealed that the album [Viva la Vida or Death and All his Friends] seemed to be shaping up with Hispanic influences, after having recorded in churches and other areas in Latin America and Spain during their tour. The predominant religion in Latin America and Spain is Catholicism. Coldplay also mentions recording in churches which I am fairly certain were Catholic churches. In addition, the name of the song is in Spanish which is the predominant language in all of these countries except Brazil. Viva la Vida to me is a reference to Jesus Christ rising from the dead - long live life indeed. I think that if the song was about Napoleon, it wouldn't have so many Biblical allusions and the title would be in French. And even though Coldplay stated that the song is about a king losing his kingdom, I don't buy that. Of course they wouldn't admit the song is about Jesus or has religious undertones for fear that it would alienate a segment of their fan base. There could also be another marketing reason behind hiding the real meaning of the song. The reference to Saint Peter is a Catholic allusion, given that Christians from other religions do not believe in saints like Catholics do. I also think that Ricardo was right on when he said that "For some reason I can't explain/I know Saint Peter won't call my name" is a reference to Peter denying Jesus 3 times. Listening to the song and researching the lyrics, I did not find a line that says "I know Saint Peter will call my name." The line "Now in the morning I sleep alone" I think is actually ironic because while Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane (during His agony), He asked a few of the apostles to stay awake and pray with Him, but they all fell asleep. So now in the morning hours before He was betrayed, He "slept" alone; He was alone because He was the only one awake and His apostles had no idea of the betrayal and suffering that were in store for Him and which He alone would endure. After Jesus was betrayed by Judas and was abandoned by the apostles (they fled when the Roman soldiers came for Him), His fate was decided when the people shouted for Barabbas to be freed and for Him to be crucified. Then He swept -walked the streets dragging a cross in a crimson robe- the streets He used to own. The "Long Live the King" is an allusion to Jesus entering Jerusalem triumphantly on a donkey; a great multitude had gathered and laid down either their garments or palm fronds along the way. The enemy in the previous line "Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes" probably refers to the Jewish religious leaders who saw Jesus' triumphant entrance as a threat to their power. They felt threatened that so many believed Him to be the Messiah. The lines "One minute I held the key/Next the walls were closed on me" have to do with Jesus' ministry and the end of it with His death and burial. Jesus held the key when He roamed the countryside preaching and performing miracles - people saw Him as the Messiah. The walls closed in on Him when He was buried in the tomb offered by Joseph of Arimethaea - a great stone was rolled to the aperture and Roman soldiers guarded the entrance. The line "And I discovered that my castles stand/Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand" can have a number of meanings. His castles stand upon pillars of salt and sand because His kingdom, as Jesus states, is not of this world. The cross on which Jesus was crucified had written on it "King of the Jews," but that king was crucified and therefore that kingdom could not stand. I also find the line to be ironic in that it could be a reference to when Jesus said to Peter: I for my part declare to you, you are 'Rock,' and on this rock I will build my church. So the castles are really a reference to the church and the pillars of salt and sand really refer to the Rock on which Jesus was to build His church (Saint Peter was the first pope) since Jesus knew that His kingdom was not an earthly one but a heavenly one and would not manifest itself via castles but through a church. The chorus "Jerusalem bells and Roman Calvary" has to do with the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman soldiers (who caused Jesus further agony with a scourging, a crown of thorns, and taunting) feeling triumphant over Jesus' death. The next two lines "Be my mirror, my sword and shield/My missionaries in a foreign field" are a call for His apostles and other believers to spread His message, to be His missionaries by reflecting His teachings and fighting for His heavenly kingdom. The next part of the chorus: For some reason I can't explain Once you go there was never Never an honest word And that was when I ruled the world highlights what can happen when the Shepherd leaves the flock and calls on others to tend to them. The line "Once you go there was never/Never an honest word" perhaps refers to the way the Catholic doctrine has handled His teachings, that the missionaries that were called upon to be His mirror, sword and shield have used lies, dishonesty, and other immoral methods to convert others. The lines that include "wicked and wild wind" are probably a reference to the cleansing of the temple. In the Gospel of John, he describes the cleansing of the temple in the following manner: And He found men in the temple area who were selling cattle and sheep and doves, and also the moneychangers who were doing business. So He fashioned a whip out of cords, and went into the temple and drove out the cattle and the sheep, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and He scattered their coins. And He went up to those who were selling doves and said to them, "Get these things out of here! How dare you turn My Father's house into a marketplace!" Then His disciples remembered what was written in the Scriptures, "Zeal for Your house will consume me." Thus, the lines "It was the wicked and wild wind" through "People couldn't believe what I'd become" refer to Jesus storming the temple, blowing down the doors and the disbelief some might have gone through in seeing Him in a rage and hearing Him shouting those words. I agree with the person who wrote that the lines about the "head on a silver plate" are a reference to John the Baptist. He was ordered beheaded by king Herod at the request of Salome; Herod had promised her anything she asked for, even up to half of his kingdom. The lines "Just a puppet on a lonely string/Oh who would ever want to be king?" again reflect Jesus' agony in the garden of Gethsemane. He is a puppet and God is the puppet master. The word "lonely" again reminds us that He alone will atone for the sins of man. The line stating "Oh who would ever want to be king?" are resonant of the words Jesus spoke when He asked His father to take this cup from Him - He would prefer not to go through all the suffering He knew was in store for Him. But in the end, Jesus (the puppet) does His father's bidding: Yet not my will but yours be done. Therefore, the references to the agony in the garden of Gethsemane bring the song full circle. Finally, the chorus -Jerusalem bells and the Roman Cavalry choirs- is repeated 3 times and Jesus is said to have died at 3pm. And so the bells are ringing and choirs are singing to celebrate His death.