The Skeptic Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks: Shaw’s Saint Joan—Concluding Thoughts on Joan in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

  • John PendergastEmail author
Part of the Bernard Shaw and His Contemporaries book series (BSC)


This chapter considers Shaw’s Joan of Arc play and considers how all the works discussed in the book compare to Schiller’s original conception. Following Joan’s canonization in 1920, Shaw’s Saint Joan recasts her in a new dramatic mold. Shaw dismisses Schiller and Shakespeare: the former for “beglamored sentimentality”; the latter for inconsistent scurrility. He is either not aware or chooses not to see that much of what he rejects in Schiller’s Idealist Romanticism is based on philosophical principles that are strikingly similar to the tenets of his own philosophy of Creative Evolution and Vitalism. Pendergast asserts that the depictions of Joan in Shakespeare, Schiller, and Shaw reveal almost mystically inevitable parallels with Euripides’s Iphigeneia. Despite his protestations to have been distancing himself as far as possible from Shakespeare and Schiller, an analysis comparing the works and their underlying ideas suggests that Shaw produces a version of Joan that is consistent with the features of Schiller’s Euripidean sublime sanctity.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Foreign LanguagesUnited States Military AcademyWest PointUSA

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