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This essay examines the actions of Charles VII in relation to events pertaining to Joan of Arc. Did the personal ambitions of King Charles VII take precedence over the good of France?

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Introduction

Abstract This essay examines the actions of Charles VII in relation to events pertaining to Joan of Arc. Did the personal ambitions of King Charles VII take precedence over the good of France? This paper investigates this question as well as analyzing the role of Charles' advisers in the changing relationship between he and Joan of Arc. By examining translated primary source texts, in conjunction with secondary source material written by respected historians, it is the purpose of this essay to establish Charles' narcissistic ambitions which led him to exploit Joan of Arc in the hopes of extending his influence and legitimacy as the French king. The essay will also investigate theories published by these historians, and the limitations of texts used in this study as proof of errors in both primary documents and important secondary texts exist. The essay concludes that the decisions, largely influenced by advisers indignant about Joan of Arc, were made selfishly as Charles manipulated her image in an attempt to elevate his own status in diplomatic matters. Her victories were used to strengthen his claim and position as King, but once negotiations began with the Duke of Burgundy Joan was no longer needed and viewed upon as a threat; feelings of jealousy felt by Charles and his counsellors partly attributed to their passivity to her capture. Even in death, the Trial of Rehabilitation used her legacy was out of political necessity to restore Charles' reputation, and to assess his influence over the church. His motivations led to the downfall of Joan of Arc in exchange for power, the power for which she had been fighting. Word Count: 269 Did the personal ambitions of King Charles VII take precedence over the good of France? During an era when the idea of a woman involving herself in matters of war was absurd, Joan of Arc not only acted as a military leader to thousands of men but also managed to lead them to several successes. ...read more.

Middle

As the combined envy of the council and the King grew, their strategy of using Joan became more evident. While her military victories were used to bargain with the Duke of Burgundy, the Trial of Rehabilitation used Joan as a fa�ade to enhance Charles' reputation. The act of manipulation is not exclusive to her life as it is also observed in treatises on Joan of Arc. The essay entitled Errors in Joan of Arc's Texts stipulates many of the limitations associated with her biography.54 Contemporary investigations use Jules Quicherat's collections of texts as a main source of information, as was the case for the majority of the referred texts in this essay. He was restricted in time and his research was limited to Parisian documentations; consequently, he was unable to locate all relevant records as they were scattered in both public and private archives. He compiled his lethargically obtained information, in his work entitled Proces de Condamnation et de Rehabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc. In addition to writing with political and philosophical opinions, he omitted certain parts of documents, as he considered them to be religious dogma. The errors in his historical commentary have been elaborated and interpreted upon by numerous authors. The contextual ambiguities of Joan's life make it difficult to sustain some information as completely factual. Despite the elusive nature of her history, the significance of her life remains unchanged. Her impact was a result of the battles in which she participated, as well as the psychological threat she posed to the monarchy. Joan of Arc was a military heroine, patriot and an innocent youth, infused with an intense love of her country, and the drive to defend a sovereign who reciprocated her devotion with resentment. While she struggled to overcome Charles' faults of greed, power, and envy, she did not lose faith in her pious missions or her King. Although Joan of Arc's naivety to these human flaws led to her untimely death, her legacy shall remain eternal. ...read more.

Conclusion

50 Pinzino, Jane Marie. The Condemnation and Rehabilitation Trials of Joan of Arc. <http://www.smu.edu/ijas/pinzino.html>. The trial had numerous violations in ecclesiastical court procedure. For example, during the trial, she wore chains and was guarded in the castle by men where the proceedings took place. Canon law stipulated that a defendant in a case of the Church ought to be held in an ecclesiastical prison, under the watch of same-sex guards. Joan also did not have a defense counsel as stipulated by canon law. Cauchon offered her an adviser from among those present, but Joan refused, recognizing that all present were allies of the English. 51 Brooks, Polly Schoyer. Beyond the Myth: The Story of Joan of Arc. New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1990. 52 The Trial of Rehabilitation takes seven years to complete (1450-1457). 53 Denieul-Cormier, Anne. Wise and Foolish Kings: The First House of Valois (1328-1498). Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1980. 54 Wheeler, Bonnie & Charles T. Wood. Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996. A collection of essays from well regarded scholars on the topic of Joan of Arc including Kelly Devries and Jane Marie Pinzino and the above mentioned essay. Each essay is specific to a certain aspect of Joan's life sometimes with comparisons to other historical figures. The book is much more useful as an analytical tool opposed to a factual one. The 16 essays, each taking a different historical approach, are cross- referenced to form a unified view on various aspects of Joan's life and death. An epilogue by Regine Pernoud, former director of the Centre Jeanne d'Arc, proves the text's credibility as Pernoud is a leading scholar of Joan of Arc. Wheeler directs the Medieval Studies Program at Southern Methodist University and writes about medieval literature and culture (series editor of The New Middle Ages, editor of Arthuriana.) Charles T. Wood is a Daniel Webster Professor of History, emeritus at Dartmouth College and a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. He is the author of Joan of Arc and Richard III: Saints, Sex and Government in the Middle Ages. 1 ...read more.

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