Devoir de Philosophie

Saint Joan of Arc

Publié le 03/05/2013

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Saint Joan of Arc Saint Joan of Arc (1412-1431), national heroine and patron saint of France, who united the nation at a critical hour and decisively turned the Hundred Years' War in France's favor. In French she is Jeanne d'Arc, and she is also known as the Maid of Orléans, after the French town that she saved from siege by English soldiers. Joan was born of peasant parentage in Domrémy (now Domrémy-la-Pucelle). When she was 13 years old, she believed she heard voices from heaven. As they continued, sometimes accompanied by visions, she became convinced that they belonged to Saint Michael and to the early Christian martyrs Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Margaret. Early in 1429, during the Hundred Years' War, when the English were about to capture Orléans, the "voices" commanded her to go to Orléans and to help the dauphin (crown prince) become crowned as Charles VII, king of France. Charles had not yet been crowned king, because of rival factions within France, the English claim to the throne of France, and his own lack of assertion. Joan succeeded in convincing him that she had a divine mission to save France. A board of theologians approved her claims, and she was given troops to command although she had no prior military experience. Dressed in armor and carrying a white banner that represented God blessing the French royal emblem, the fleur-de-lis, she led the French to a decisive victory over the English. The siege of Orléans was lifted in May 1429, and the French soldiers advanced, meeting little opposition. At the subsequent coronation of the dauphin in the cathedral at Reims, she was given the place of honor beside the king. Although Joan had united the French behind Charles and had put an end to English dreams of control over France, Charles opposed any further military campaigns against the English. Therefore, it was without royal support that Joan conducted a military operation against the English at Compiègne, near Paris, in 1430. She was captured by Burgundian soldiers, who sold her to their English allies. The English then turned her over to an ecclesiastical court at Rouen to be tried for heresy and witchcraft. After 14 months of interrogation, she was accused of wrongdoing in wearing masculine dress and of heresy for believing she was directly responsible to God rather than to the Roman Catholic church. The court condemned her to death, but she penitently confessed her errors, and the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Because she resumed masculine dress after returning to jail, she was condemned again--this time by a secular court--and, on May 30, 1431, Joan was burned at the stake in the Old Market Square at Rouen as a relapsed heretic. Twenty-five years after her death, the church retried her case, and she was pronounced innocent. In 1920 she was canonized by Pope Benedict XV; her traditional feast day is May 30. Joan of Arc has been widely depicted in literature and art. She was the subject of such plays as Die Jungfrau von Orleans (1801; The Maid of Orléans, 1835) by German dramatist Friedrich von Schiller; Saint Joan (1923) by British playwright George Bernard Shaw; Joan of Lorraine (1946) by American playwright Maxwell Anderson; and L'Alouette (1953; The Lark, 1955) by French playwright Jean Anouilh. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), a critically acclaimed French silent film directed by CarlTheodor Dreyer, was based on historical transcripts from her trial. Swiss composer Arthur Honegger wrote of her in his oratorio Joan of Arc at the Stake, which was first performed in 1938. American writer Mark Twain wrote the biography The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), and French philosopher Voltaire commemorated her in his narrative poem La pucelle d'Orléans (The Maid of Orléans, 1756). Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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