Study Guide

Saint Joan Pride

By George Bernard Shaw


THE ARCHBISHOP: "You have stained yourself with the sin of pride. The old Greek tragedy is rising among us. It is the chastisement of hubris." (5.61)

Does he feel this way because he's intimidated by Joan?

JOAN: "I am not proud: I never speak unless I know I am right." (5.63)

Does she have a point here? Or is this exactly the sort of thing a person with too much pride would say?

DUNOIS: "Pluck and impetuosity are good servants in war, but bad masters." (5.70)

Dunois is trying to get his friend to see that she's letting her pride take over her reason. Does the fact that she gets caught prove him right?

BLUEBEARD: "Not content with being Pope Joan, you must be Caesar and Alexander as well." (5.78)

Bluebeard cleverly accuses Joan of pride by comparing her to two of history's most famous conquerors, but does she think of herself this way?

THE ARCHBISHOP: "Pride will have a fall, Joan."

JOAN: "Oh, never mind whether it is pride or not: is it true? is it commonsense?" (5.79-5.80)

Good point, Joan. We might also question whether a decision based in commonsense is prideful at all. If it makes sense, it makes sense, right?

THE ARCHBISHOP: "The voice of God on earth is the voice of the Church Militant; and all the voices that come to you are the echoes of your own wilfulness." (5.98)

Is it Joan's supposed pride that bothers the Archbishop or the fact that she's circumventing the Church to talk to God herself?

JOAN: In His strength I will dare, and dare, and dare, until I die. (5.112)

No matter how many times they accuse Joan of pride, it's hard to deny that she is always humble in the face of God.

THE INQUISITOR: "You will see a diabolical pride and a natural humility seated side by side in the selfsame soul." (6.73)

How can someone be proud and humble at the same time?

CAUCHON: "Yet God is my witness I was just: I was merciful: I was faithful to my light: I could do no other than I did." (E.64)

Is Cauchon might be guilty of a little pride himself?

DE STOGUMBER: "Well, you see, I did a very cruel thing once because I did not know what cruelty was like." (E.104)

The Chaplain has completely changed his mind since Joan died. He's lost all the pride that made him so angry.