Saint Joan Literary Elements

Saint Joan Literary Elements





Setting and Context

The action starts in 1429 AD and it is based in different locations in France, such as the royal palace, on the River Meuse and in Robert’s castle.

Narrator and Point of View

Because this is a play, we can’t speak about a narrator or a sent point of view like in novels. Each individual character says his or her lines and the narrator is present only through the brief characterizations he makes regarding the characters.

Tone and Mood

Ironic, tragic

Protagonist and Antagonist

Even if the play is sometimes referred to as a play without a villain, we could consider Joan as being the protagonist and those who sentenced her to death the antagonists.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is the war between France and England.


Joan is accused of being a heretic and sentenced to death.


Joan prophesies her own death when she says that France will get to the point when all the English will be gone but that she won’t be alive to see it.


When Joan says that she will make sure that only the French will live in her country proves to be a lie as she will die before that could happen completely.


When the Englishman and the bishop talk about how they could catch Joan, an allusion is made to what her end will be, and that is burned as a witch.


Probably the most predominant image in the play is that of Joan as a saint, a pure maid capable of doing miracles.


The was Joan dies is a paradox in the book in the sense that she is killed by the institution she loves the most.


There are many similarities between the life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria who was sending Joan visions and Joan’s own life. They converted to Christianity at an early age, convinced many to follow their examples and died as martyrs at about the age of 18.


I, God forgive me, am a little in love with war myself, the ugly devil!

Use of Dramatic Devices

There are almost no stage directions in the play, but the narrator chooses to characterize the characters in a direct manner at the beginning of every Scene. Through those descriptions, we are presented with the full picture of a character, including his or her social status, appearance and personal traits.

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