George Shaw Bernard Criticism: Saint Joan (1923) - Essay

Stanley J. Solomon (essay date February 1964)

(Drama Criticism)

SOURCE: Solomon, Stanley J. “Saint Joan as Epic Tragedy.” Modern Drama 6, no. 4 (February 1964): 437-49.

[In the following essay, Solomon explores the consequences of synthesizing epic and tragic elements in Saint Joan.]

Several of the critical problems related to Saint Joan stem from the unusual nature of the play—unusual, that is, for Shaw, for in no other Shaw play do we have a predominantly tragic tone.1 In the numerous commentaries on the play, we find three key questions frequently recurring: 1) Is Joan a tragic heroine with a tragic flaw or an innocent victim of circumstances? 2) Although Joan has our sympathies throughout, why...

(The entire section is 5689 words.)

John L. Gribben (essay date winter 1965)

(Drama Criticism)

SOURCE: Gribben, John L. “Shaw's Saint Joan: A Tragic Heroine.” Thought: A Review of Culture and Idea 40, no. 159 (winter 1965): 549-66.

[In the following essay, Gribben discusses the character of Joan in Saint Joan as a genuine tragic figure.]

When George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan was presented for the first time, at the Garrick Theatre in New York on December 28, 1923, it was acclaimed by critics of all shades of competence, from Hugh Walpole and Heywood Broun to Lord Beaverbrook, as one of the finest plays the world had seen, the finest play written in the English language of our day.1 The playbill described it as “a chronicle play.”...

(The entire section is 7168 words.)