Joan of Arc - saint or mad? heroin or fool?

Now that yet another cinematographic version of the life of Joan of Arc is approaching, I’m interested in other SDMBers opinion of this intriguing historical figure.

I’ve personally always thought of her as a tragic figure, probably mentally ill, but who accomplished great things in her life and deserves to serve as a role model for young women, in spite of her bellicose activities.

I’ve never found anyone that dislikes the young woman of Domremy, but knowing some of the opinionated members of this board, I would be interested in their points of view.


J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Stendhal

Mad.

And heroin, please. . .

Waste
Flick Lives!

I don’t think she was mentally ill. I’ve always thought that her visions were merely bursts of inspiration that, to her, seemed divine. She could have stressed the religious aspect to add a bit of respectability and credibility to her words. A young peasent girl who simply said “Hey, I know I can do this. I believe in myself,” wouldn’t have been given the same attention than a girl who claimed to have been sent by the Almighty would.

(Psst, Arnold . . . She’s a “heroine” not “heroin.” Heroin is illegal. And yes, I do see the irony in me pointing out other people’s spelling mistakes.)

I think the poor woman had emotional problems,a few halucinations, and that led her to hear voices. She was probably a good person but one that needed meds.

Question, did she plan battles, set strategy, sit at the head of the advancing army, or did she just show up on the field, in the rear, and just listen to the ethers?


“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.” F.Bacon

Brille

I read the title and did think Jacques was talking about heroin. I thought maybe heroin caused hallucinations.

I would consider her a heroine. Heck, I think it would be pretty cool to be her, aside from the burning at the stake and being used as a dupe by the King (as I recall). But she had huevos, that’s for sure. I believe she really did have visions/hallucinations and wasn’t just faking it for legitimacy.


“Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.”

  • Bertrand Russell

I don’t think she went as far as “set strategy”, but she did lead campaigns such as the battle to free the city of Orleans and the campaign to free the Loire Valley.

She usually showed up on the field and was wounded twice, once with an arrow in the shoulder at Orleans, and once in the leg during the Loire campaign.

P.S. Damn those spelling errors! I knew it was heroine.


J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Stendhal

After she lead the campaign to conquer the cities near Reims, Charles VII was proclaimed King in Reims and then seemed to lose interested in fighting the english (and their french allies, the Bourguignons). He prevented Jeanne from attacking Paris and stopped funding her campaigns. After her capture at Compiegne, the king makes no effort to ransom her.


J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Stendhal

Yeah, I thought I remembered that but I was extremely fuzzy on the details. Got any good links on Joan of Arc? I’ve tried to find a in-depth online biography with no luck, and I’m always meaning to pick up a book on her but I haven’t gotten around to it.


“Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.”

  • Bertrand Russell

Lissa says:

I think she was sincere in what she claimed to have experienced (visions of Saint Michel, Saint Catherine, Saint Marguerite). When she first approached the local load (Robert de Baudricourt) she was only 17. The french “doctors of the church” who questioned her at that age mention that they were convinced by her “simplicity”.


J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Stendhal

Gaudere asks

Sorry, I’m relying on memory (I recently re-read my french book on Joan of Arc.)

Here’s a link with a pretty good history. However, it’s in french. Jeanne d’Arc

Mark Twain wrote a biography of Joan of Arc, and Regine Pernoud’s book is supposed to be good.


J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Stendhal

Uh huh… You think too much. You should just let Hollywood do it for you, like the rest of us.

Come on in, the water’s fine…


Salieri DID TOO kill Mozart.
And Beethoven DID mean his brother’s wife.

---------------------------------------------I think she was sincere in what she claimed to have experienced (visions of Saint Michel, Saint Catherine, Saint Marguerite). When she first approached the local load (Robert de Baudricourt) she was only 17. The french “doctors of the church” who questioned her at that age mention that they were convinced by her “simplicity”.

Do you think she might have been a lesbian and did not realize her sexuality?


“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.” F.Bacon

Brille

Hmm. I always thought Jonah of Ark was related to Noah of Ark…

---------------------------------------------ckDEX]]]Hmm. I always thought Jonah of Ark was related to Noah of Ark…

No, Jonah came from Arkansas.


“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.” F.Bacon

Brille

Marina Warner’s bio of La Pucelle is pretty interesting, though her theory that Jeanne was anorexic is wacko.

What I find most interesting about Jeanne is that Saints Margaret and Catherine now are considered to be fictional saints (created from bits and pieces of various legends to serve as examples of morality)instead of historical figures. No, no one sat down and said, OK, let’s educate and entertain the masses with tales of these legendary symbols, but they seem to be the medieval equivalent of modern urban legends.

So…if she were alive today, would Jeanne be telling France about how the aliens who abducted her wanted her to pass along their opinions on the Euro dollar?

To me, the question really hinges on whether you believe that any human being ever has had or ever will have a direct, accurate, transformative interaction with “God”. If you believe such a thing possible, then the details of “Joan’s” life and death seem to reflect many elements that mystics and messiahs throughout history have claimed to reflect the experience of the Ineffable. Certainly one cannot easily find fault with the strength of her conviction.

On the other hand, if you do not believe such an experience is possible, then the question reduces to, “Was Joan a mentally disturbed or was she a charlatan?” I do not believe she was a Charlatan.

Huh???


The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity

quote:

Do you think she might have been a lesbian and did not realize her sexuality?

Huh???]]]]]
Well, think about it, if you will, she adores and communes with two female “Saints,” Margaret and Catherine, goes off to do a man’s job, [think of the time she lived in and what other women were doing, or allowed to do?]

Perhaps part of her emotional confusion, conflict?, was due to her unexplained attraction, and supression, to woman and the need to dress up as a man in armour? Remember, she was very young and uneducated and perhaps did not understand these “urges.”

It’s just a thought.

“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.” F.Bacon

Brille

So Michael is a transexual, then?

Felinecare says:

St. Margaret of Antioch and St. Catherine of Alexandria are still in the Roman Catholic canon as saints. Thouugh some of the miracles attributed to them may no longer be church doctrine, such as lightning-wielding Angels saving St. Catherine from the “Catherine wheel” or milk flowing from her neck instead of blood after she was beheaded, they are still historical figures. And notice above I said *may[/]. I’m not sure that the extraordinary events in their life are denied by the present-day Catholic Church.

John John says:

That is a common theory, since some of the facts we know of her life are typical of the stereotypes many people have of lesbians.
[ul][li]She was nicknamed “La Pucelle d’Orleans”, the Virgin of Orleans, implying she never had sex with a man.[/li][li]On of the justifications for the accusations of immorality brought against her at her trial was the fact that she had cut her hair short and dressed like a man.[/li][li]Additionally, there is the fact that she was an inspiring leader and fought in a war at a time when those were a man’s prerogative.[/ul][/li]
Sadly, during her trial in Rouen, she was harassed (or perhaps raped) by the mail jailors. She signed an abjuration in part to be transferred to a prison with female guards, since she could no longer bear the harassment, but when she was placed back in the same prison, she denied her abjuration and regretter afterwards her moment of weakness.


J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Stendhal

Michael is an angel, archangel if you want to get specific, and “prince of the Jews” in the angelic hierarchy if you keep track of the pseudo-Dionysian angelic tracking system. (If I don’t, PM sure will!) :slight_smile:
As such, “he” is sexless, but generally represented in art as a attractive, somewhat androgynous but martial young man. (If they make a movie about the Archangel Michael in the next couple of years, Leonardio diCaprio has the role tied up.)

Joan is the classic case of the person “possessed by divine powers.” In the handful of quotations attributed to her, she makes a clear distinction between her own motivations and what “the saints” told her to do. Her view of her role was however quite masculine, given the sex roles of the time, and while it is improbable she was a lesbian, she may very well have been transgendered.

Arnold dealt with the “fictional saints” question, but I think it’s important to note the distinction between the historical personage (and most saints were historical) and the legends accruing. Francis of Assisi was an extraordinary person even without the events recorded in the Fioretti, which are by and large accreted legends. (Apropos of nothing but my making reference to Francis, the few people who follow him will be amused by the term applied to the K-T border clay rich in iridium discovered by the Alvarezes at Gubbio, Umbria: the “Wolf of Gubbio.”)