SAINT JOAN CHARACTER PROFILES

JOAN

A spirited and religiously impassioned teenaged girl who happens to be a valiant leader. Joan earnestly believes she has been ordained by God to lead the French to victory against the English. Her simplistic honesty, unrelenting faith, and great courage charms and emboldens the soldiers under her charge despite harsh criticism from high ranking clerics in the Catholic Church, who judge her religious fervor and mission.

JOAN
Ah! If, if, if, if! If ifs and ans were pots and pans there’d be no need of tinkers. I tell you […] your art of war is no use, because your knights are no good for real fighting. … No: they will fight to win; and they will give up their lives out of their own hand into the hand of God when they go into battle, as I do. Common folks understand this. They cannot afford armor and cannot pay ransoms; but they followed me half naked into the moat and up the ladder and over the wall. With them it is my life or thine, and God defend the right! You may shake your head, Jack; but remember the day your knights and captains refused to follow me to attack the English at Orleans! You locked the gates keep me in; and it was the townsfolk and the common people that followed me, and forced the gate, and shewed you the way to fight in earnest.
(Scene V)


ROBERT DE BAUDRICOURT

The gruff and assertive nobleman and garrison commander at the castle of Vaucouleurs. He is the first person in a position of some power to assist Joan in her purpose, though he is not without initial skepticism.

ROBERT
Yes: what am I? Am I Robert, squire of Baudricourt and captain of this castle of Vaucouleurs; or am I a cowboy?
 
STEWARD
Oh, sir, you know you are a greater man here than the king himself.
 
ROBERT
Precisely. And now, do you know what you are?
 
STEWARD
I am nobody, sir, except that I have the honor to be your steward.
 
ROBERT
You have not only the honor of being my steward, but the privilege of being the worst, most incompetent, drivelling snivelling jibbering jabbering idiot of a steward in France.
 
(Scene I)

 

 

BERTRAND DE POULENGEY

Age 36. “Polly.” De Baudricourt’s man-at-arms and one of Joan’s first allies. He champions Joan to Baudricourt, and later follows Joan into the battle for Orleans.

POULENGEY
There is something about her. They are pretty foulmouthed and foulminded down there in the guardroom, some of them. But there hasn't been a word that has anything to do with her being a woman. They have stopped swearing before her. There is something. Something. It may be worth trying.
(Scene I)

 

 

CHARLES

Age 26. “The Dauphin,” or heir to the throne of France, and the future king, Charles VII. He is timid and unkingly, and greatly disrespected by the French courtiers who question his legitimacy. Through Joan’s encouragement, he becomes more confident in his own potential for leadership.

CHARLES
Yes: I am afraid. It’s no use preaching to me about it. It’s all very well for these big men with their armor that is too heavy for me, and their swords that I can hardly lift, and their muscle and their shouting and their bad tempers. They like fighting: most of them are making fools of themselves all the time they are not fighting; but I am quiet and sensible; and I don’t want to kill people: I only want to be left alone to enjoy myself in my own way. I never asked to be king: it was pushed on me. So, if you are going to say ‘Son of St Louis: gird on the sword of your ancestors, and lead us to victory’ you may spare your breath to cool your porridge; for I cannot do it. I am not built that way; and there is the end of it.
(Scene II)

 

THE ARCHBISHOP OF RHEIMS

Age 50. The imposing senior religious counsel for young Charles. Though he essentially serves The Dauphin, he does not show him respect. He also wavers in his allegiance to Joan’s mission to the point of questioning its source.

THE ARCHBISHOP
You stand alone: absolutely alone, trusting to your own conceit, your own ignorance, your own headstrong presumption, your own impiety in hiding all these sins under the cloak of a trust in God. When you pass through these doors into the sunlight, the crowd will cheer you. They will bring you their little children and their invalids to heal: they will kiss your hands and feet, and do what they can, poor simple souls, to turn your head, and madden you with the self-confidence that is leading you to your destruction. But you will be none the less alone: they cannot save you. We and we only can stand between you and the stake at which our enemies have burnt that wretched woman in Paris.
(Scene V)

 

LA TRÉMOUILLE

Lord Chamberlain of the Dauphin’s court and commander of the French army. He is arrogant and impudent toward Charles.

CHARLES
Another lecture! Thank you.
 
LA TRÉMOUILLE
Here: read the accursed thing for me. He has sent the blood boiling into my head: I can’t distinguish the letters.
 
CHARLES
I will read it for you if you like. I can read, you know.
 
LA TRÉMOUILLE
Yes: reading is about all you are fit for…
 
(Scene II)

 

BLUEBEARD

Age 25. Gilles de Rais. A smart, self-possessed, though somewhat irreverent nobleman and courtier. He first tests Joan, but then acts as a captain in her service.

BLUEBEARD
My lord: I stand rebuked. I am sorry: I can say no more. But if you prophesy that I shall be hanged, I shall never be able to resist temptation, because I shall always be telling myself that I may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
(Scene II)

 

LA HIRE

A military captain and blasphemous “war dog” with no courtly manners. He becomes Joan’s close and devoted colleague in battle, though when he first hears of her he is rather afraid.

LA HIRE
This is nothing to joke about. It is worse than we thought. It was not a soldier, but an angel dressed as a soldier. […] She has made her way from Champagne with half a dozen men through the thick of everything: Burgundians, Goddams, deserters, robbers, and Lord knows who; and they never met a soul except the country folk. I know one of them: de Poulengey. He says she's an angel. If ever I utter an oath again may my soul be blasted to eternal damnation!
(Scene II)

 

DUNOIS

Age 26. “The Bastard of Orleans,” and cousin to the Dauphin. The charismatic commander of the French defenses at Orleans. He is good-natured and without affectation, and becomes a devoted, but pragmatic supporter of Joan. Joan refers to him as “Jack.”

DUNOIS
I think that God was on your side; for I have not forgotten how the wind changed, and how our hearts changed when you came; and by my faith I shall never deny that it was in your sign that we conquered. But I tell you as a soldier that God is no man’s daily drudge, and no maid’s either. If you are worthy of it He will sometimes snatch you out of the jaws of death and set you on your feet again; but that is all: once on your feet you must fight with all your might and all your craft. For He has to be fair to your enemy too: don’t forget that. Well, He set us on our feet through you at Orleans; and the glory of it has carried us through a few good battles here to the coronation. But if we presume on it further, and trust to God to do the work we should do ourselves, we shall be defeated; and serve us right!
(Scene V)

 

THE EARL OF WARWICK

Age 46. Richard de Beauchamp. A cavalier and impressive English nobleman and military leader. He is eventually posted as captain at Rouen Castle where Joan’s trial is conducted. . Eloquent and educated, he seeks to preserve the power of the aristocracy through the retention of feudal system and resistance to nationalism.

WARWICK
A Frenchman! Where did you pick up that expression? Are these Burgundians and Bretons and Picards and Gascons beginning to call themselves Frenchmen, just as our fellows are beginning to call themselves Englishmen? They actually talk of France and England as their countries. Theirs, if you please! What is to become of me and you if that way of thinking comes into fashion?[...] Men cannot serve two masters. If this cant of serving their country once takes hold of them, goodbye to the authority of their feudal lords, and goodbye to the authority of the Church. That is, goodbye to you and me.
(Scene IV)

 

JOHN DE STOGUMBER

Age 50. Warwick’s chaplain and a Roman Catholic bishop He is hot-tempered Englishman, who is quick to speak, and presumptuous, not to mention sanctimonious. He is out to get Joan from the start; he believes she is a witch.

DE STOGUMBER
…I know as a matter of plain commonsense that the woman is a rebel; and that is enough for me. She rebels against Nature by wearing a man’s clothes, and fighting. She rebels against God by her damnable league with Satan and his evil spirits against our army. And all these rebellions are only excuses for her great rebellion against England. That is not to be endured. Let her perish. Let her burn. Let her not infect the whole flock. It is expedient that one woman die for the people.
(Scene IV)

 

PETER CAUCHON

Age 60. The Bishop of Beauvais. A Frenchman with fervent reverence for and fidelity to the Church and the duties placed upon him. He is acutely concerned about the redemption of souls, but is commissioned with seeking out those who would commit heresy. He is allied with the English against Joan, given the political implications of her mission in relation to the Church.

CAUCHON
[flaming up]
A faithful daughter of The Church! The Pope himself at his proudest dare not presume as this woman presumes. She acts as if she herself were The Church. She brings the message of God to Charles; and The Church must stand aside. She will crown him in the cathedral of Rheims: she, not The Church! She sends letters to the king of England giving him God's command through her to return to his island on pain of God's vengeance, which she will execute. Let me tell you that the writing of such letters was the practice of the accursed Mahomet, the anti-Christ. Has she ever in all her utterances said one word of The Church? Never. It is always God and herself.
(Scene IV)

 

THE INQUISTOR

Brother Joan Lemaitre, Vice-Inquisitor of Northern France and clerical judge assigned to Joan’s trial-at-law. A mild, elderly gentleman, protector of the Roman Catholic faith and morals, and firm defender of the Church’s tenets on heresy. He is most interested in Joan’s affront to religious doctrine than to any civil or criminal law.

THE INQUISTOR
I submit to you, with great respect, that if we persist in trying The Maid on trumpery issues on which we may have to declare her innocent, she may escape us on the great main issue of heresy, on which she seems so far to insist on her own guilt. I will ask you, therefore, to say nothing, when The Maid is brought before us, of these stealings of horses, and dancings round fairy trees with the village children, and prayings at haunted wells, and a dozen other things which you were diligently inquiring into until my arrival…Heresy, gentleman, heresy is the charge we have to try. The detection and suppression of heresy is my peculiar business: I am here as an inquisitor, not as an ordinary magistrate. Stick to the heresy, gentlemen; and leave the other matters alone.
(Scene VI)

 

D’ESTIVET

The middle-aged canon assigned as Joan’s prosecutor, also known as “the Promoter.” He is testy, impatient, and cunning.

D’ESTIVET
Woman: it is not for you to question the court: it is for us to question you.
(Scene VI)

 

LADVENU

Brother Martin Ladvenu. A young priest assigned as assessor and counsel to the judges at Joan’s trial. He is caring and gracious and actually concerned about Joan’s fair representation.

LADVENU
Joan: we are all trying to save you. His lordship is trying to save you. The Inquisitor could not be more just to you if you were his own daughter. But you are blinded by a terrible pride and self-sufficiency.
(Scene VI)

Opening Night of
Hamlet/Saint Joan
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