Shakespeare’s Lexicon of St. Joan

052516 Blog

Did Shakespeare vent his spleen in Henry VI? Was the dialogue of his characters a convenient excuse for describing France’s savior with vitriolic adjectives? St. Joan didn’t deserve to be called: a mad chambermaid, a beggar’s brat, algayne of the devil, drab of Lorraine, Armagnac’s whore, or the devil’s milkmaid. The virgin leader of France’s dispirited troops beat the round heads fair and square. Of course, saying she could pull them down from the clouds themselves didn’t endear her to England. St. Joan called them god-damns because of their constant swear words. She promised her own army they would be victorious if they stopped taking the Lord’s name in vain. And does France appreciate their heroine, or is she relegated to encouraging young women that their dreams can be made real. I think she will haunt France until she is given her due recognition, despite the grand Shakespeare’s ill muse.