Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183
Read some biographical material on Joan of Arc. In what ways does Shaw’s Joan differ from the Joan of history?
Compare Shaw’s treatment of Joan with the way she is portrayed by other writers (e.g., Mark Twain, Andrew Lang, Voltaire). Also, look at how Shaw (in his Preface) says these other writers portray Joan; is he fair to the other writers?
In what circumstances is it appropriate to defy the authorities in Joan’s manner? If a citizen disagrees with government spending policies, does s/he have the right to refuse to pay taxes? Would it have been proper to disobey the apartheid laws in South Africa or the anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany, or to defy the tanks in Tienanmen Square? How about protesting against the Vietnam War?
To what extent do Joan’s own failings contribute to her downfall? To what extent do external forces cause her downfall?
Is Joan a failure in the end? Does she achieve something? What?
Whose side is Shaw on in the play? Joan’s? The Church and Cauchon’s? Both? Neither? Explain.