Saint Joan's Tragic Flaw: The Epilogue



Saint Joan is considered to be one of George Bernard Shaw's
greatest works. In the play, Shaw avoids many problems identified by
critics as prevalent in some of his other writing. Some have criticized
Shaw, claiming that he tends to portray unrealistic archetypal characters,
rather than well-rounded believable individuals. His plays have also been
described as lacking action and being too didactic. In Saint Joan, Shaw
reduced the intensity of these previously criticized typically Shavian
elements and thus, met with much critical success. However, in my view,
the play's epilogue is redundant and unnecessary. It essentially repeats
and reinforces the events of the play without ...

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characters, including Joan, either explain their
behavior that we've seen throughout the play or relate some historical fact
that Shaw must have seen as necessary for the audience to be aware of. The
first character that appears at Charles' bed is Brother Martin Ladvenu, who
in Scene VI participated in the trial of Joan. During the examination,
Ladvenu makes every effort to save Joan from being declared a heretic and
tries to give her the opportunity to be "saved." He praises Joan when she
answers a question well. In addition, he says to her, "Joan: we are all
trying to save you. His lordship is trying to save you. The Inquisitor
could not be more just to you if you were his own daughter." He shows that
he is earnest in his desire for the truth to come out, and for Joan to be
saved. After Joan has been burned, he is one of the first to recognize
that a mistake has been made. Describing her burning, he says "...she
looked up to heaven. And I do not believe that the heavens ...

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Joan spells out information about
herself that has been clearly illustrated throughout the play, without
adding anything substantial. She says, "I was no beauty; I was a regular
soldier. I might almost as well have been a man. Pity I wasn't...But my
head was in the skies; and the glory of God was upon me..." She continues
on to state the obvious. "I shall outlast the cross. I shall be
remembered when men have forgotten where Rouen stood." Anyone reading or
seeing the play knows that this is true.
Shaw's pattern of giving historical information and explaining and
summarizing characters' behaviors continues throughout the epilogue. The
next character to arrive in the scene is ...

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"Saint Joan's Tragic Flaw: The Epilogue." Essayworld.com. January 9, 2008. Accessed October 21, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Saint-Joans-Tragic-Flaw-The-Epilogue/77184.
"Saint Joan's Tragic Flaw: The Epilogue." Essayworld.com. January 9, 2008. Accessed October 21, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Saint-Joans-Tragic-Flaw-The-Epilogue/77184.
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Added: 1/9/2008 02:45:27 AM
Category: Arts
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1588
Pages: 6

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