What is the significance of the play st. joan by bernard shaw?

Essay by pashamHigh School, 12th gradeA-, June 2005

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Bernard Shaw was a dramatic critic. He is said to be one pf the world's most famous playwrights. Even though there were many who opposed his progressive views, he was adamant in his desire to reform society. Shaw was a feminist and had great respect and consideration for women. St. Joan is the first play where a woman has been shown as a full fledged, strong willed character.

Shaw's art of characterization is depicted through clear descriptions, the manner in which the characters speak and the way they speak to each other. Shaw's plays are referred to as 'a drama of ideas' as they do not involve action.

The play, St. Joan was written by Shaw in 1923, two years after Joan's canonization, but is set in the medieval age, namely, 1429. There are several medieval elements in the play. This is seen when the steward says ' there is a spell on us: we are bewitched' as an explanation for why there are no eggs.

The fist scene of the play is set during the hundred years war between England and France. A young country girl has come to see the squire of the castle of Vaucouleurs, Robert de Baudricourt. She insists that he should send her to the Dauphin as it is her mission to raise the siege of Orleans and to crown the Dauphin.

In this scene, Shaw gives a very clear and pictorial description of Baudricourt. He is portrayed as someone who is apparently strong willed and emphatic. By his domineering nature he attempts to hide his lack of will power. He is a bully and is extremely condescending towards his steward. He is inconsiderate and is continuously threatening to dismiss the steward. He calls him 'incompetent' and 'the worst steward in France'.

The period...