History knows many examples, when women made an impact on different spheres of life of own country. However, can we count the number of women that fought against the invaders with a gun in hands? Such brave woman existed in France. Her name was Joan of Arc. Legends and different heroic stories about unusual life and deeds of “The Maid of Orleans” will be always on the pages of European press. Attention of artists, historians, art-critics, men of the pen will be always linked to the tragic, and in some part unique fate of Joan of Arc. There are more than seven thousand books, dedicated to her life, in city of Orleans. In this descriptive essay on a person as Joan of Arc, I will describe all her impact on France of those times. If you need help in writing essays, you can use one of the best writing services. You can read about all benefits of our service right here.
Appearance and Character of Young Maiden
There are currently no more clear portraits of Joan, but eyewitnesses describe her as tall, dark-haired, and dark-eyed girl. Maiden had a robust health, which allowed her to lead the arduous life of a warrior. Everyone, who met her, even her enemies experienced the power of her personal charm. However, one lifetime portrait existed – pen drawing, which was made by the Parisian parliament secretary in 1429. This figure has nothing to do with the original. It depicts a woman with long ringlets and dress with a pleated skirt; she holds the flag and is armed with a sword. Joan really had a sword and a flag. Nevertheless, she wore a man’s suit, but her hair was cut short. Young maiden was a slim woman of strong addition. Her face was getting beauty only in moments of animation. Joan was sensitive, often smiled and cried. Joan liked to sit on a horse in shiny armor. On the armor, she wore a short blouse and male coat. Her voice was soft, gentle, and attractive, her words were simple, even in moments of great animation. Maiden inspired a deep respect for all, did not eat so much, easy endured hardship and privation campaigns, often spent whole days and nights on horseback in armor. So as we see, Joan had male features. Woman had a strong power of spirit.
Miracle of maiden-liberator
She was born on January 6, 1412 in a remote province, in the village Domremy. She began to hear the voices of saint people (St. Michael, St. Margaret, and St. Catherine) at the age of 13. Moral and social life of that time was linked with religion, faith in God. Therefore, these “visions” were common thing. “Voices” inspired Joan to fight against the roistering of Englishmen. France was going through hard times – It was Hundred’s War. Englishmen occupied entire north of the country with the main French city Paris. Many specific lords, including Duke of Burgundy, were on the side of intruders. Future king, Carl VIII did not have determined character, ability to lead troops and support among close surroundings. In October 1428, Englishmen besieged Orleans. The citizens were preparing for the defense and expecting for miracle. Country was on the verge of losing independence. In contrast to the royal court, simple people were ready to stand up for defense of France. Joan was also obsessed with the wish to give her life in order to free the country. She left her home for Vaucouleurs, where she met with the commander of local post Robert de Baudricourt. She told him about her “visions” and “voices”, talking to her, that she was the chosen one to save France. Robert de Baudricourt informed Carl VIII and began to persuade him in audience to Joan. King agreed. Commander gave her male clothes, armed guards for convoy and blessed the road. Joan went to meet with Carl VIII. After her arrival to the court, she was introduced to the doctors of theology and men of science, which began with addiction to pump out young prophetess about “voices” and “visions” and her life. All court admired her enthusiasm, willingness to gather people for raising the siege of Orleans. After long talks, king agreed to give Joan an army. In the spring of 1429, Joan with the armed troops went to the Orleans. The siege of the city lasted for six months. That is why, French troops, received recruitment, believed in strength of young captain and took the offensive. The attack began early in the morning, when Joan was still asleep. Frenchmen attacked front troop of Englishmen and began to press them. Waked by the noise, Joan jumped on her horse and rushed to the battlefield. Her sonorous voice was clearly audible. Nevertheless, desperate courage served her poor service – she was wounded in the shoulder. However, her presence inspired the soldiers, they started to press enemy and forced him to flee. Joan proved that she was indeed the patriot of own country. You can find in what is patriotism essay all information about this principle. Orleans was saved.
Little Success and Big Fall
Local citizens met Joan with the triumph. The glory of her instantly spread throughout France. However, Joan did not have special military merit in the defeat of Englishmen at Orleans. She was only as a source of psychological treatment of her own troops, which she inspired. Enemies were afraid to mention her name and considered her as devil and punishment of heaven. The turning point in the war became after the raising the siege of Orleans. Joan requested in coronation of Carl VIII in Reims. It was necessary for approval of legitimate authority. Local authorities enthusiastically welcomed Carl and Joan. Former traitors addressed to the king with pathetic request to forgive and pardon them. Carl was already in Reims on July 16, and the next day coronation took place. Joan had a full right to say then, that her mission completed. Carl thanked her loyalty with generous gifts and exempted her native village Domremy from taxes. This was Carl and Joan apogee of glory. After the coronation he considered, that Joan was not as useful to him as earlier. What had she to do then? Quit all and return to home? Nevertheless, the war was not over. Many French lands, including Paris, were still under control of Englishmen. Without support of king, Joan decided on her own risk to take by storm Paris. The act failed, because it was not so circumspective and prepared. After this defeat, Joan’s career went down. Any victories were achieved by her and her troops. On May 23, 1429 last battle occurred, in which she took place. It happened at Compiegne. She was lured into the trap – once on the drawbridge, she did not notice, how she went away from her troops. Burgundians, allies of Englishmen, raised the bridge and one of the soldiers grabbed her cloak and pulled her from the horse. She became the prisoner.
Extinct soul of liberator
The last and the most painful stage of her life began from this moment. Joan was taken into the hands of saint inquisition, which decided to organize big process concerning heretic and maiden, which wore male clothes and had gun in hands. The French king could easily save girl. However, he refused to help her. The Duke of Burgundy sold Joan to the Englishmen and after that, she was taken into the hands of inquisition. The court took place in Rouen. The leader of the process was Bishop Cauchon, which greatly hated Joan. Poor Joan with strong resistance held on against accusations of heresy. There were many statements, in which she was accused of, such as used lie, daft faith in supernatural miracles and intention to convince others, actions, which had antireligious character. Questioning Joan, judges tried to catch Joan on ignorance of church’s tenets, deftly puzzled young maiden, demanded her repentance at all accusations. However, Joan was not sectarian, she linked all her actions with the God. On the contrary, inquisitors tried to deny this statement. It was a long time, but Englishmen did not achieve any results in slander against Joan. They could not wait anymore. In 1431 maiden was accused of witchcraft and dirty actions against the church. This resulted in claiming, that she was heretic. The sentence was awful. Englishmen buried young maiden in the same year. Therefore, life was over of great liberator. There are facts, that Joan could escape the execution. However, this is another story.
Meaning of the deed of Joan of Arc is in that, she showed an example of patriotism and helped the king to unite French people in order to fight against the British invaders. The French church canonized her in 1920. This a great example, how woman can influence the course of history.