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Joan of Arc: France's Young Tragic Hero


Part 2: Success and the End

Though she was wounded twice in these many struggles, Joan fought on. She at first wanted to go home, especially after her first series of successes; but the army convinced her to stay.

The French progress bogged down as the English dug in. Joan and the French fought on, and so did the English. In May 1430, Joan was captured.

She was held in prison for many weeks and then brought to trial in Rouen, a French town in English possession. She was refused a lawyer and was treated cruelly in prison. At her trial, she insisted that the voices of angels had told her to help defend France against English invaders. This didn't go over too well with the English clergymen who were her judges. She was found guilty of heresy (largely because she claimed to have spoken with angels, which was against church law) and sentenced to be burned at the stake. She died on May 30, 1431.

Her story is still told for several reasons:

  • She was but an inexperienced teenager, leading an army full of battle-hardened men.
  • She was a woman. At that time, women were expected to stay in the homes and castles and let the men do the fighting.
  • She had tremendous success. With her in the army, the French won victory after victory.
  • She died a terrible death.

Her life and death have inspired many solders, in France and elsewhere, ever since.

First page > The Makings of a Hero > Page 1, 2

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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