What were Joan of Arc's character traits?

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hpvandersteen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Joan of Arc was a heroic woman filled with faith and conviction that compelled her to take critical action during The Hundred Years' War.  She was born in 1412, and in 1425, during her early teenage years, she began hearing voices that called her to fight for the rightful King of France, Charles Valois. 

On her first attempt to meet with Charles, she was refused, but after gaining the help of religious leaders, her determination paid off.  She won Charles' attention when she told him that these divine voices assured her that her help would lead to the establishment of his kingdom.  He gave her a charge at Orleans, and she was credited for the victory and liberation there in 1429. 

Shortly after this, the coronation of Charles VII became a reality, which validated her vision and purpose.  However, her momentum was cut short when she was captured by the English in 1430.  The English and their allies reasoned that God did not approve of her campaigns since the success she had achieved was so short-lived; therefore, they believed her campaigns were sponsored by devils.  They began to attack her virtue and even questioned her sexual integrity, referencing her military companions. 

In January 1431, her trial began.  Although her accusers attempted to ask her difficult questions, she had a sound mind and admirably navigated through the rhetorical traps set for her.  Essentially, her crimes were that the voices she heard were not benevolent or divine and that her insistence on wearing men's apparel was unnatural.  

She did recant twice when her accusers allowed her to view the site of her potential execution; however, each time, she returned to her convictions and beliefs.  On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake; witnesses claimed they could hear her calling out the name of Jesus with her last breaths.  

It was more than twenty years before Charles VII had her trial revisited and overturned, and in 1920, nearly 500 years later, she was named a saint.  

Source referenced:  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2017/03-04/joan-of-arc-warrior-heretic-saint-martyr/

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