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Synopsis

Table of contents
1.Introduction 1

2.Joan of Arc, the historical figure 2

3.Brief biography of Schiller and Shaw 3

George Bernard Shaw 3

Friedrich Schiller 4

4.Summary of the two plots 5

G.B. Shaw´s 'Saint Joan' 5

Friedrich Schiller´s 'The Maid of Orleans' 6

5.Analysis 8

Joan´s outward appearance 8
Joan´s voices and visions 9
Joan´s mission10
Joan´s downfall11
6.Shaw´s basic ideas and his criticism on Schiller´s play 13
7.Conclusion15
8.Bibliography17

Introduction
I write this essay within the scope of the seminar 'History, Religion and the Modern Drama'. The drama 'Saint Joan' by George Bernard Shaw was one of the major works we took a closer look at in the course of the semester and analysed from different points of view. The tragic work, which has been considered one of Shaw's greatest and most important ones, has been hailed as being intellectually exciting and praised for dealing with important themes as nationalism, war, and the relation of the individual to society. The play certainly solidified Shaw's reputation as a major playwright.
Without any doubt 'Saint Joan' is a very complex work, which offers a wide range of aspects open to interpretation. I decided to focus on the way Shaw depicts the character of Joan, because - apart from the historically picture of her person and the circumstances of her time - Shaw manages to interlace his own ideas on progress, nationalism and religion into the character of Joan. Therefore analysing her person and the role she fulfils within the drama is of central importance to get access to Shaw's main ideas. Aside from the analysis of Joan's character in G. B. Shaw's drama, I decided to draw a comparison between Shaw´s main figure and the way Friedrich Schiller portrays the character of Johanna in his work 'The Maid of Orleans', which appeared at the beginning of the 19th century. Even though these two works both deal with the historical figure Joan of Arc, there are some huge differences not only concerning the portrayal of the historical events, but excessively so concerning the depiction of Joan's character. These distinctions can certainly be ascribed to the particular features of Romanticism on the one hand, which is at the core of Schiller´s work, and early Modernism on the other hand, which is at the bottom of Shaw's drama.

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