wearing “ immodest garments belonging W r i t i n g

wearing “ immodest garments belonging W r i t i n g

Joan of Arc, day 1: read first 1/2 of the trial proceedings, which can be found here: 


Write a response addressing the following: why does it matter so much that Joan/Jeanne dressed as a man and fought alongside men?  What does this threaten to destabilize?  What is a witch?  Who defines “witchiness” and how is it determined?  Is the process detailed here one of justice?


The Hundred Year’s War was a battle between the French and English from the years 1337-1453 over the crown of France. Joan of Arc is notably considered to be the “Maid of New Orleans” because she claimed that she was guided by the “divine honor” as she helped France win during this war. After the war, however, she was put on trial for multiple offenses, including witchcraft and wearing “immodest garments belonging to the male sex”. The offense of wearing men’s clothing despite being a woman becomes one of the most important charges in the case. When this charge is explained in the trial proceedings, it is stated that Joan of Arc, “put off the habit and dress of the female sex (which is contrary to the divine law, abominable to God, condemned and prohibited by every law), has dressed and armed herself in the state and habit of man”. Additionally, the proceedings explain that she “wrought and occasioned murders”. These two descriptions are important in understanding why it matters so much that Joan dressed as a man and fought alongside men.First, this means that Joan of Arc was going against “divine law”. The divine law set specific expectations for the behavior of women and men. At the time, women were still considered to be the property of men and they were expected to conform to their specific gender roles. Men were the ones who were supposed to be aggressive and fight in wars. It was considered to be an abomination to wear clothes that were not of your specific gender. Additionally, Joan of Arc stated that she was acting under divine law, however she contradicted these laws by wearing male clothing. The fact that she wore these clothes and fought alongside men threatened to destabilize the gender constructions that were created by the word of “divine law”. Allowing Joan of Arc to wear these clothes and fight with the men would serve as an example for other women to challenge their circumstances and get more rights than they were first allowed by men.I do not believe that the process detailed here is one of justice. The trials that we have in American society are more or so fair and just due to the fact that the person accused of a crime is assumed to be innocent until proven otherwise, however, this is not the case for Joan of Arc’s trial. She was assumed to be guilty from the beginning and she was never given the chance to defend herself or have any council defend her. The ones who presented evidence against her could have easily misconstrued her answers to make herself seem guilty of those offenses. Additionally, the two judges of her case were Pierre Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais, and Jean Lemaître, the vice-inquisitor of France. These two judges had a direct stake in her case and convicting her of these offenses which is why I do not believe that this trial was one of justice. Joan of Arc was accused of being a witch. She was considered to be a witch because of heresy; she was acting in ways that contradicted the Christian faith. She was considered to be an “enchantress, false prophet, a caller-up of evil spirits, as superstitious, implicated in and given to magic arts, thinking evil in our Catholic faith..”. In this case, I believe that the people define “witchiness”. In summary, it seemed like the definition of a witch came from obstructing peace and inciting violence against the people of God. For example, she was accused of,  “perturbing and obstructing the peace, inciting to war, cruelly thirsting for human blood, encouraging it to be shed…. other things abominable to God and man, contrary to laws both divine and natural… having to the scorn of God permitted and allowed herself to be adored and venerated… “. According to this, the people (lawmakers) had the ability to define what a witch is and how Joan of Arc fit this description of a witch. Barret, W.P. “The Trial of Jeanne D’Arc”, Retrieved from http://saint-joan-of-arc.com/trial-condemnation.ht…