Saint Joan Study Guide

Saint Joan Study Guide

Original title:
Saint Joan: A Chronicle Play in Six Scenes and an Epilogue

Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw is a play telling the audience about the life of a half-historical half-mythical character of Joan of Arc, a heroine and saint of France. The author follows her story from the moment of her revelation to her execution, canonization and afterlife.

Despite Shaw shows Joan as an actual saint, able to create miracles or involuntarily curse people who don’t believe her, she is a living human being of flesh and blood. She isn’t only a tool of the divine will, though she surrenders herself to the mercy of God. She is a young woman capable of friendship, feelings and (sometimes bitter) irony even after her death, when she comes to the former Dauphine in his dreams. We see the story of Joan not only as a string of miracles and military victories ended by the betrayal. It is the life of a strong personality with her own joys and sorrows, fears and moments of weakness. Joan is a messenger of God, but she isn’t a featureless embodiment of virtues.

The characters who surround the main heroine usually see her as a symbol. It is mostly evident in the end, when the spirit of Joan returns to learn that she was only an instrument of the political and religious power play. She desperately tries to find people who valued her as a person, not as a saint.

The characters are not flat legendary figures: they pursue their own goals, have ambitions and see their own profit in keeping Joan on their side - or incarcerated.

This play is still thrilling the audience and has inspired many writers after Bernard Shaw’s times. The strong and realistic personality of Joan appeals to our common desire to be accepted not only for the deeds we commit, but just for who we are inside.

New Essays

Quotes with Page Number Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw

“Don't think you can frighten me by telling me that I am alone. France is alone. God is alone. And the loneliness of God is His strength.” — Page 46 — “The truth sticks in our throats with all the sauces it is served with: it will never go down until we take it without any sauce at all.” — — “I...

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