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Joan of Arc

Updated on November 26, 2017
Joseph Kfoury profile image

Joseph Kfoury is registered as a Chemical Engineer in the University of Balamand

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans," was born in 1412 in Domrémy, Bar, France. A national heroine of France, at age 18 she led the French army to victory over the English at Orléans. Captured a year later, Joan was burned at the stake as a heretic by the English and their French collaborators. She was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint more than 500 years later, on May 16, 1920.

Early years and historical background

Joan of Arc was the daughter of poor tenant farmers Jacques d’ Arc and his wife, Isabelle, also known as Romée, Joan learned piety and domestic skills from her mother. Never venturing far from home, Joan took care of the animals and became quite skilled as a seamstress.

At the time of Joan of Arc’s birth, France was embroiled in a long-running war with England known as the Hundred Years’ War; the dispute began over who would be the heir to the French throne. By the early 15th century, northern France was a lawless frontier of marauding armies (Charles the ruler of France was replaced by the English ruler Henry).

At the age of 13, Joan began to hear voices, which she determined had been sent by God to give her a mission of overwhelming importance: to save France by expelling its enemies and to install Charles as its rightful king. In May 1428, Joan’s visions instructed her to go and contact the commander and supporter of Charles. After three attempts, she was allowed to see Charles, and after some conversations with him, he allowed her to lead an army. Joan then dressed like a man, cropped her hair, lead the army and won it successfully.

Later on, Joan was asked to lead another army, but unfortunately, it wasn’t as successful as the first. She fell off her horse and was captured during it. After many trials, she was charged with 70 counts, including witchcraft, heresy, and dressing like a man. Finally, she was burned at the stake, before an estimated crowd of 10,000 people on May 30 and was only 19 years old.

The factors that favored this woman’s ability to occupy a position beyond the normative roles ascribed to women by the social order

At the time of Joan of Arc, women engaging in politics and war wasn’t the norm, and therefore women were not supposed to lead armies and reinstall kings. However, the thing that enabled Joan to be an exception and defy the prevailing norm was her religious inclination and piety. Religion was the only weapon for women to defy and change prevailing norms at that time. Had Joan not stated her visions from God, she wouldn’t have been heard from anyone.

Main obstacles faced by Joan of Arc

She was a woman at a time when they were considered as secondary citizens and supposed to be subservient to men.
She was still a teenager and had no military training.
She said she had seen apparitions sent by God and most people did not believe her.
The people who surrounded the king tried to play tricks on her to prove that she was stupid, ignorant, or mad.
The king himself was weak and ineffectual.

When she was the only woman amongst soldiers she was in danger of being abused by them.
Her task to rid France of the English seemed insurmountable.
Because she was successful in her leadership she made bitter enemies of the English.

Joan succeeded in overcoming her difficulties to a certain extent

She managed to convince everyone that she was hearing voices from God and should save France.
She galvanized the king and restored his self-esteem and assurance.
She inspired the troops and gained their respect as well as that of the other generals.
She dressed in men's clothes and kept herself to herself to avoid molestation.
She succeeded in defeating the English spectacularly.

However, she failed in escaping their wrath, was captured and handed over to a corrupt religious tribunal that condemned her to be burnt alive at the stake for being a witch and renegade.

Joan’s Legacy

Joan of Arc’s main legacy was her explicit combination of religion and women’s right.

Religion

Joan of Arc has come to mean many things to many people. One of the most important legacies she left behind is the Bible's teachings of "with God all things are possible." Joan was described as being a simple young girl, the only aspect about her that was different was that she had a deep devotion to God. Joan of Arc was teased at times by some of the other children for having such a strong connection to God. When you look at where she came from and then at all that she accomplished, it is really hard to come up with a reasonable explanation for her life other than to help do God's work. Basically, the legacy she left behind was to stay strong to your beliefs, whether your family or friends agree or disagree with them.


Women's Rights

Joan of Arc also subliminally left another legacy behind for women. Back then, women were not allowed to go to war, but that did not stop her from doing what she wanted to do. She wanted to fight for her country, so she disguised herself. Joan of Arc is a hero because she refused not to fight for her country just because she was a woman.

© 2017 Joseph Kfoury

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    • Mamerto profile image

      JR Mamerto 5 months ago from Cabuyao

      You also don't love your neighbor if you left them in dire needs.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      You do not love your neighbor when you kill/harm them or yourself. Killing/harming people or yourself shows a lack of respect for human life.

      It does not matter who migrates into your area or what government prevails. You may choose to accept the new authority or move, but do not fight.

    • Mamerto profile image

      JR Mamerto 5 months ago from Cabuyao

      Love of God and Love of neighbor, as what St Joan did.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      What did Jesus teach? What does Pope Francis teach?

    • Mamerto profile image

      JR Mamerto 5 months ago from Cabuyao

      Then you are letting the people to be oppressed?

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Do not take sides in war. Governments and leaders come and go, but Human Life is Sacred. Jesus said, "Love your enemy." Do you agree with Jesus? Place God over country and do not fight at all. There are No Invaders, we are all Human.

    • Mamerto profile image

      JR Mamerto 5 months ago from Cabuyao

      Do you agree that her sacrifice contributed to the victory of France from the invaders?

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Do we agree it is wrong to harm other people?

      Is human life sacred?

      What makes you so sure it was God speaking?

      Could she have been having an insane delusion?

    • Mamerto profile image

      JR Mamerto 5 months ago from Cabuyao

      I admire a person helped who saved her people from invasion. And yes I believe it is God's voice who spoke.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Do not harm another person. Do not even form the Intent to harm another person. We are all people and all of the same race.

      Do you admire people who hear voices from God and then harm people based on the voices?

    • Mamerto profile image

      JR Mamerto 5 months ago from Cabuyao

      There is a difference between killing and murdering.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Mamerto I Relativo Jr.

      Do you admire people who hear voices from God and then kill based on them?

    • Mamerto profile image

      JR Mamerto 5 months ago from Cabuyao

      I love Joan of Arc! I'm a Filipino but I admire here deeply. She should be the symbol of empowerment among women!

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      If a person says they hear voices from God to harm another or themselves, they are delusional. History is rampant with claims of the insane. See:

      https://hubpages.com/health/Peace-on-Earth-is-an-I...

    • Joseph Kfoury profile image
      Author

      Joseph Kfoury 6 months ago

      I really respect everyone’s comments and points of view. Eventually, this is what history has told us so far, be it true or not, no one can really know. Jay C I as well believe that God is piece and love and hates evil. He is to the utmost level a very fair judge, but his judgment may be different from our perception of judgment and it is for sure very tedous for us to perceive. My article about Joan of Arc is not intended to prove or doubt God’s existence or to prove that Joan really existed and heard voices from God or not, but merely to show how she lived, and how she overcomed the odds forced upon her by the society having religion as a sword in her hand. Not to mention that at her times all what she fought with has failed with others, but not with her. Take my article as a reflection of a legend that holds inwithdrable amounts of courage and morals. And thank you for sharing your points of view everyone !

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Be neither predator nor prey. We are humans who can think of options. Get smart, be alert and move away from danger. We are individuals with free will.

    • asifiq profile image

      Asif Iqbal Samad 6 months ago

      Joan of Arc's drive was patriotic, regarding the rest we might disagree depending on which part to believe and not of what has been said of the voices in her head. (not saying I have any particular opinion beyond doubt)

      But.

      WWII and I

      _________

      The history is only half true. The hunter will remain glorified in tales until, the lion learns to write his side of the story. History is so, has been so.

      Centuries of colonial oppression was a tool for some to disguise their greed and cruelty with a facade called "civilization", Their shenanigans manipulated every ethics they could distort, including religions and the inter-religious empathy. Same as the crusades were hardly as glorious as what the established history might claim.

      When few other nations wanted to replicate the dominating nations and challenged the rulings nations, being naive, they made some politically wrong moves and got caught red-handed. Germans just do not have the skills like the English , or the English could be accused of many folds of brutality the Germans might have only begun to imitate.

      At that moment, the English were fearing their domination was about to be lost anyway from other regional liberating aspirations. And found Hitler to be the perfect scapegoat and divert the centuries of hatred to be diverted to Hitler ...

      How the Jews suffered of course was answered duly in the WWII. But the motive of the victors were otherwise.

      Surely you might have your own belief on a different version.

      Depending on if you are a lion believer or the hunter believer.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      But do they hear voices from God telling them to harm people?

      As a retired Peace Officer, I know about controlling wrongdoers, but officers are trained not to form the intent to harm the one arrested. There is something called Use of Force which has a graduated scale of force. Officers are to use the Least amount of force to control the person and are never trained to kill the person at the beginning. After all my years as a Peace Officer I have concluded that Deadly Force is Not needed. There are always options. I also am familiar with Mental Health Warrants for the insane. See:

      https://hubpages.com/family/From-Warrior-to-Office...

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 6 months ago from Australia

      Jay C

      In rare cases people need to fight evil with physical force. Currently good people are fighting against Daesh.

      World War 2 was a fight against Nazism by good people.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      "At the age of 13, Joan began to hear voices, which she determined had been sent by God to give her a mission of overwhelming importance: to save France by expelling its enemies and to install Charles as its rightful king."

      People who hear voices from God telling to fight and kill are mentally ill. No one should fight or harm another human being in the name of God. I believe God is at Peace.

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