Saint Joan Background

Saint Joan Background

The play Saint Joan was written and published by the Irish writer, Bernard Shaw and is considered as being one of his major works. The play was published in 1923, shortly after the canonization of Saint Joan by the Church and two years before Bernard received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The play has six scenes and an epilogue, and follows Joan’s life. The story told in the play follows closely what Shaw found by studying the transcript of Joan’s trial yet he refuses to accuse anybody, saying in the preface that he believed that the men in Joan’s trial all acted in good faith.

The play was criticized after it was published, many saying that Shaw tried to redeem those who accused Joan and that he didn’t present the medieval society in which Joan lived accurately.

Despite the criticism it received, the play was a success and the role of Joan is considered as being very difficult to play because of the character’s complexity.

The play is written in almost a playful manner and it contains both dramatic and comic elements.

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