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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
In the play, which takes from 1429 to 1456, there are several disparate settings, all in France. The first is in a chamber in the castle of Vaucouleurs. The second set, resplendent with all the beauty and pomp of royal glory, is in the throne room of Chinois Castle in Lorraine. The third scene takes place in a tent on the bank of the Loire River, a sharp contrast to the royal setting of the second scene. The next scene is set in the infirmary in the Cathedral of Rheims. The final scene is set in a hall in Rouen Castle. The epilogue is set as a dream in the king's bedroom in a royal chateau.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Joan of Arc or Saint Joan (often referred to as The Maid)
She is a country girl whose age is between seventeen and eighteen years. An actual historical character, she is the central character and protagonist of the play. Although she is not a classical beauty, Joan of Arc has an admirable sense of purpose and determination; she is also simple, wise and courageous. Her soldier's clothes, her short hair, and her military tactics reveal her sense of duty. Even when she is captured and put on trial, her basic honesty, her great religious faith, and her practical, common sense make the judges look ridiculous.
Charles VII or The Dauphin
He is a young man of about twenty-six who lacks self- confidence. He is somewhat ugly, thin, and wiry, with almost no physique and a sheepish expression. He is not greatly bothered about matters relating to the court or the country, being more concerned about his own poor health and lack of money. As a result, his power-hungry nobles run the country and force him to remain an uncrowned king. He is intelligent and recognizes that Joan is more noble and trustworthy than his own courtiers, who constantly bully him. With Joan's help, he is finally crowned king. He is the man in the epilogue who dreams about Joan 25 years later, revealing what happens to her after her death.
He is the responsible and courageous young commander of Joan's army. He is good-looking and very good-natured. Like Joan, he has a sense of purpose and a sense of duty. He is also known as "the Bastard," for he is the illegitimate cousin of the Duke of Orleans. Although he is a brilliant commander, he has no personal ambitions and serves his king and country loyally. He also serves Joan, believing her to be a good soldier and leader. In fact, he is one of the few friends that Joan can rely on during the play.
Richard de Beauchamp or the Earl of Warwick
He is a ruthless and imposing nobleman of forty-six years of age and a perfect example of feudalism at its worst. As a political opportunist, he is ambitious and thirsts for power. Although he is extremely cynical, he never loses control or becomes emotional. He bears no malice towards Joan, though he sees her as an impending danger to his aspirations. As a representative of the traditional English nobility, he demands Joan's death in order not to upset the existing way of life.