Saint Joan chronicles the life of a Catholic saint. As such, we're sure it's no big surprise that religion is a major theme. In the play, we see the one of the earliest clashes of Protestantism and Catholicism. There's also much discussion of popular religious topics such as faith, heresy, martyrdom, and repentance.
Questions About Religion
- What differing attitudes exist toward Joan among the various clergy in the play?
- Are the churchmen who try Joan hypocritical, or are they true to their own beliefs?
- Joan's wearing of men's clothes and refusal to marry is a real problem for the Inquisitor. What modern parallels can be found in the tenants of today's religious denominations?
- When Joan died for her beliefs she became a religious martyr. What other famous martyrs might she be compared to? Where can we find martyrs in today's world?
Chew on This
Cauchon and the Inquisitor are only doing their jobs. In their minds, they're only doing what's best for Joan.
With his epilogue, Shaw points out the irony of Joan's canonization by the same organization which, four centuries earlier, had her burnt alive.