Joan Of Arc

Decent Essays

Spreading heresy was never something that the Catholic Church took lightly. In fact, it is known to have executed many people over time for not accepting their doctrine and beliefs. People were actually burned to the stake because they didn’t agree with what the Church preached. Heresy would receive extreme punishments by the church during the fifteenth century. In George Bernard Shaw’s Play, Saint Joan, it was no different. Joan of Arc, a young French women, is on trial in a church court for spreading heresy. In the passage, the Inquisitor tries to convince the church to punish Joan, using a variety of different strategies to appeal to the court. He tries to make members of the court feel guilt, and explain that it would be a great failure …show more content…

He does this to make the court know that he understands how dangerous of an issue this is. This creates a fear effect that would have most likely affected the judges. To capitalize on this effect even more, he mentions “a heresy that will wreck both Church and Empire if not ruthlessly stamped out in time” (Shaw 11-12). This pushes the fear effect even farther, as he emphasizes the degree to which this could hurt the church. The Inquisitor wants the court to have an understanding of the damage that heresy could do the church. This strategy would not only make the court feel more incline to act, but it would also have them more engaged to his next points. As the Inquisitor moves on, he continues to bring up his experience with heresy as he claims “I have seen this again and again” (16-17). Again, he tries to show his qualification, which would show the court that he has the experience and capability of determining the guilt of a heretic. By constantly referring to this, it is clear the the Inquisitor is trying to gain the attention and respect the court. Following this the Inquisitor tries to add even more fear to the atmosphere by again describing the harmful effects of heresy. He says “Heresy at first seems innocent and even laudable; but it ends in such a monstrous horror of unnatural wickedness” (27-29). He tries to show that heretics need to be stamped out and punished or else it will …show more content…

However, to make his accusation more effective, he begins by complimenting the court, referring to them as “tender-hearted” (29) and “merciful men” (42-43). This significance is not in the compliments themselves, but the strategy the Inquisitor is incorporating into his speech. He wants them to think of himself as a kind and intelligent person, not somebody who wants to see a woman burned to the stake simply out of pure hatred. By complimenting the court, not only is he portraying himself as a pleasant person, but he is grabbing their attention, and pulling them even farther into his grasp. The Inquisitor continues by describing Joan. He begins by referring to her as “pious and chaste” (45). This would almost make it seem like she shouldn’t be punished but this is all part of the Inquisitor’s plan. He portrays her as a good person visually but then follows with “the devilish pride that has led her into her present peril has left no mark on her countenance” (53-55). He wants the court to not be fooled by her looks, and what others have said of her. Instead, he wants the court to focus on what she has done: spread heresy. He warns the court of her “diabolical pride” (58), insisting that regardless of what she may seem to be, she is against the church, and has a certain unholiness to her that she must be punished for. The Inquisitor then makes one of the

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