Health & Medical Self-Improvement

When Joan asks if She Shall Rise from the Dead and Come Back to Life

The familiar conventional view of Joan of Arc (1412-1431) pictures her as a romantic heroic soldier- saint done to death by cruelly unjust religious fanatics.
Shaw's Joan of Arc is still a simple unlettered country lass in her teens, a virgin soldier-saint, still the called-of God, still the martyred-by-man.
Also, she is singularly devoid of anything that suggests the romantic.
She seemingly is ordinary-looking, with no physical charms, and romantic love never entered her thoughts.
And to repress her femininity she donned male army uniform when she moved amongst soldiers.
She was particularly interested in military affairs and in military encounters she showed extraordinary insight.
Indeed, Shaw again and again refers to her commonsense as the root cause of her military successes.
And, at her Trial, it is the stupidity of her ecclesiastical and feudal accusers that appals her, not any wickedness.
But what Joan dismisses as stupidity was, in the eyes of her accusers, no more than an act of self-preservation.
The Church could not concede to Joan the right to obey the "voices" of, what she claimed, Saint Catherine, Saint Margaret and the Archangel Michael, because the Church feared, the "voices" could quite possibly be of the devil's as of God's.
On the other hand, to Joan, the Church's claim to infallibility was unacceptable, because she cannot obey an ordinance that is not an inner bidding, which she believes to emanate from God.
Here is a conflict between an institution of constituted authority hardened into routine formulas and the unfettered heavenly promptings within the individual.
In setting up the heavenly calls she has heard against the age-long collective judgment of the monolithic Church vindicates the freedom of the living soul.
For this reason, to Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais, Joan is just a heretic and witch and represents a menace to the Church.
Likewise, to the Earl of Warwick, she is a menace to the feudal system.
She is eventually martyred by being burnt at the stake.
Joan's commonsense, push, courage and religious faith make her a credible human phenomenon.
But the positives of her inspiration are her singleness of purpose and unswerving obedience to God's will.
Joan's sainthood is a combination of her sexlessness, exceptional commonsense, inspired activity and the heavenly voices she heard.
This may be called practical mysticism.
She represents the Life Force that operates behind evolution.
But the Epilogue, which is a fantasy or a dream sequence, completes her life- story by showing her rehabilitation in 1456 and her canonization in 1920.
A clerical- looking figure of 1920 suddenly appears to announce that Joan, having been admitted successfully to the ranks of Venerable and Blessed, has now been proclaimed a Saint.
Visions of statues to her in Winchester Cathedral and Rheim's Cathedral appear.
All kneel and praise her.
Joan asks if she shall rise from the dead and come back to life.
But they all discreetly convey their unwillingness to see her alive.
This is because man's outlook on her would be just the same as before.
The play closes with Joan's despairing cry asking God as to when the earth will be ready to receive His saints.
There is a deep psychological secret revealed in this answer.
Man's nature is such that he cannot see Truth live.
Because then it is impossible for him to play around or mould Truth - the freedom is not there.
When a living saint is no more around, it becomes very easy to interpret his message according to one's convenience.
Then the dead Saint can become the object of your worship.
The founders of all religions are almost invariably the dead Saints.

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