Study Guide

Saint Joan Scene Three

By George Bernard Shaw

Scene Three

  • It is April 29, 1429, say the stage directions. We are on the bank of the river Loire in Orleans.
  • Dunois, a good-looking 26-year-old general, is pacing back and forth. (This is the same guy they were calling the Bastard back at court. No, they're not calling him names or anything; he's the illegitimate son of the Duke of Orleans.)
  • His Page, a young boy, is laid out on the grass watching the river flow by.
  • Dunois' lance is stuck into the ground. There's a pennon tied to the top. It's waving like a flag in a strong wind.
  • Unfortunately for Dunois, the East wind is currently blowing. If you'll remember from the previous scene, he needs the West wind to take his troops up the river.
  • Currently, Dunois is taking out his frustration by composing a poem aloud to the absent West wind.
  • The West wind is apparently not a poetry fan, though, because she isn't blowing.
  • The Page jumps up and points at something offstage.
  • Dunois gets all excited and asks if it's The Maid.
  • Nah, it's just a kingfisher his Page tells him.
  • At first Dunois yells at the boy for making him think it was Joan, but when the boy sees two more birds Dunois gets into it. (Apparently, bird-watching was a popular way to pass the lulls of war. Who knew?)
  • Suddenly, Joan marches in wearing some shiny armor.
  • As she enters the pennon at the top of the lance ceases to blow. It just hangs limply.
  • Joan is mad because she's been taken to the opposite side of the river from Orleans.
  • Dunois tells her that he ordered it so.
  • He gives Joan a rundown of the situation. There's only one bridge they can take over the river. The problem is that are there two forts full of "goddams" guarding that bridge.
  • Tons of Englishmen don't scare Joan. She's got God on her side.
  • Dunois is impressed with her fighting spirit, but he tells her that she's in love with war.
  • Joan remarks that the Archbishop told her that she was in love with religion.
  • Do you want to be a woman with two husbands, asks Dunois.
  • She says she never wants a husband. In fact, before she took off on her holy quest, a guy sued her in court for breaking an engagement.
  • I have no time for frivolous women's dreams, she tells him. I'm much more interested leading charges and firing off big guns.
  • Dunois and Joan debate the benefits of artillery. Joan thinks it's best to blow up big stone walls; Dunois prefers just running up to them with a ladder. (Hmm, we'd go with Joan's plan.)
  • Joan says she'll lead a charge over a ladder, too. She's not afraid.
  • Dunois is like: okay, chill out for a second. The thing is we can't take the fort by rushing across the bridge and stuff. We've got to take some rafts up the river and sneak up on the "goddams" from the rear. The only problem is the wind in blowing the wrong way.
  • I'll go order up some wind from God, says Joan. Which way to the Church?
  • Just then the West wind starts to blow.
  • Dunois is suitably impressed.
  • He kneels before Joan and tells her that she commands the army.
  • The rafts are sailing up the river towards the English.
  • They all run off to get their fighting on.