by George Bernard Shaw
Saint Joan Theme of Society and Class
Medieval society was rigidly divided by class and position. Saint Joan investigates the inner workings of this intricate structure. Among the things examined are the tiers of power within the Church, the political factions of kings and feudal lords, and the lot of common peasants and soldiers. We also see just how severe the punishment was for people who defied this rigid hierarchy.
Questions About Society and Class
- In what ways do societal and class divisions separate the members of the clergy?
- Is the fact that Joan stepped above her social class just as damning as her shattering of gender barriers?
- How is power divided between the religious and political spheres in Joan's society?
- How are the different levels of medieval society represented in the play? Which characters represent the lower, middle, or upper classes?
Chew on This
Saint Joan presents an overall resentment for the upper class.
Joan's life as a commoner, gives her a clear eyed view of the problems France is facing. Her middle class upbringing gives her a certain objectivity, which her upper class betters could never have.