Saint Joan

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This passage, from the epilogue of Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, introduces King Charles’ viewpoint of Joan. It occurs twenty five years after the execution of Joan. Charles is having a dream and talking to Ladvenu who is a holy man that has dedicated his life to clearing Joan. In the epilogue, Charles represents the government and Ladvenu represents the view of the church. Ladvenu says “I think of what it means to her” when Joan’s name is cleared. However, Charles says that he cannot think of what it means to her because nobody ever really knew her. By this he means that they followed her without any understanding. The people and especially the common folk, followed her based on her character and confidence, not based on any true understanding of her. Receiving visions was something that was unheard of and unfamiliar to the people of that time. It went against the teachings of the Catholic church which ruled even above the king. When Charles says “She was like nobody else,” he means that no one else was willing to defy the Church. She stood up for herself and her beliefs. Joan dressed like a man and she fought and talked to saints in her head. As far as the Church was concerned Joan was a liability that needed to be taken care of. Politically, Joan was also a problem. The English wanted her gone and so did the Burgundians because she was defeating them. Inevitably, both groups took action and she was executed. Charles also tells Ladvenu that neither he nor Ladvenu are big enough to take care of Joan now. It’s her job to take care of herself. Meaning that neither the government nor the Church can care for Joan. Her life is strictly in the hands of God and no mortal is that powerful. In the last half of the passage, Charles points out the hypocrisy of the Church. He states “If you could bring her back to life, they would burn her again within six months, for all their present adoration of her.” By saying this, he is pointing out that the Church would challenge her...
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