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Saint Joan



Saint Joan is a play by George Bernard Shaw about 15th-century French military figure Joan of Arc. Premiering in 1923, three years after her canonization by the Roman Catholic Church, the play reflects Shaw’s belief that the people involved in Joan’s trial acted according to what they thought was right. He wrote in his preface to the play:

There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us.

Michael Holroyd has characterised the play as “a tragedy without villains” and also as Shaw’s “only tragedy”. John Fielden has discussed further the appropriateness of characterising Saint Joan as a tragedy.

Character Breakdown

Robert de Baudricourt
Steward to de Baudricourt
Bertrand de Poulengy
De la Trémouille, Lord Chamberlain
Duchess de la Trémouille
Archbishop of Rheims
Gilles de Rais ("Bluebeard")
Captain La Hire
Bishop of Beauvais
Dauphin, Charles VII
Earl of Warwick
Dunois, Bastard of Orléans
Page to Dunois
John de Stogumber, English chaplain
Canon John D'Estivet
Canon de Courcelles
Brother Martin Ladvenu
Brother John Lemaître, The Inquisitor
English Soldier