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Master Thesis

Incarnations de la rébellion : mon(s)trer l’humain dans Saint Joan de Shaw et Salomé de Wilde

Abstract : Salomé and Joan of Arc are two figures who became myths of the XIXth or XXth century thanks to their ability to be used for different purposes by each artist who happened to find them interesting. Because they can always be adapted, they were presented in turns in negative and positive ways, and were turned several times into icons by ideological, artistic or political movements. Oscar Wilde, decadent author of the Victorian fin-de-siècle, took possession of the princess’ image for his 1893 play Salomé. Georges Bernard Shaw, dramatist who was one of his contemporaries but was at the height of his fame at the beginning of the XXth century, chose instead to transform Joan of Arc’s image for his 1923 play, Saint Joan. The aim of this study is to analyse these two feminine figures in the plays in order to find out why they were the ones selected by the dramatists. With this aim in mind, we compare one with the other, but also the way in which the both of them are represented with the popular image that they carried at the time. Thus, we deduce the messages that Wilde and Shaw wanted to deliver through them, and especially how they become under their pens incarnations of the rebellion they cherished. By first studying the religious and mythical aspect of the plays and their characters, we can see a dichotomy between spirit and body in both of the works, and thus we understand that this – exclusively feminine – body is staged and made threatening at the same time, in the same way as the spiritual characters are both alienated from reality and too easily seen. Thereby monstrously showed, the heroines become incarnations of the dramatists’ rebellious ideals, even though they still put them to death while turning the spotlights on them in order to criticise their society one last time.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 5:17:41 PM
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Laetitia Togores. Incarnations de la rébellion : mon(s)trer l’humain dans Saint Joan de Shaw et Salomé de Wilde. Sciences de l'Homme et Société. 2019. ⟨dumas-02391881⟩

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