Arms and the Man


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Titled after the lines from Virgil's Aeneid: "Arma virumque cano" (Of arms and the man I sing), this play was first produced in 1894. It was published in 1898 as part of Shaw's Plays Pleasant which includes Candida, You Never Can Tell, and The Man of Destiny.



Oscar Straus's 1908 operetta "The Chocolate Soldier" preserved the plot of the play pretty much intact, while (per Shaw's request) changing the characters' names. As the play opens, a Swiss mercenary, during a rout of the Serbian army by the Bulgarians, takes refuge in the bedroom of an aristocratic Bulgarian girl, the fiancee of the young Bulgarian officer who caused the rout.--Submitted by Anonymous

Act I of the play Arms and the Man sets forth with a romantic ambience in which Raina whose mind is permeated by the works of Puskin and Byron, is engrossed in her dreamspace nursed, nurtured and nourished by her infatuations towards militarism. She looks upon her betrothed Sergius as an icon of manliness. So, she looks upon the portrait of her fiancÚ as a votary looks upon the deity. She is a balloon filled with illusions of love, marriage and war. Therefore, a balloon as such needs to be punctured, and the puncturing is done by the midnight intruder, the fugitive Bluntschli, who appears to be a sharp antithesis to Sergius. Bluntschli candidly confesses that he does not want to bite the dust and hence he has taken to his heels from the front. His devouring chocolates stimulates her motherly instincts and the man at her apron needs to be mothered. Hence, her initial abhorrence gives way to bent for the Man. Bluntschli, the mouthpiece of Shaw brings about a topsy-turvy to the established conviction held by our heroine. Thus, Act I of the play determines the complexities of the subsequent Acts.--Submitted by Dipen Guha


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Recent Forum Posts on Arms and the Man

Relationship between characters of Raina and Louka

I need help on these issues. Please help... 1) Compare and contrast between the characters of Raina and Louka. 2) How do you consider that Louka is foil to Raina, the heroine ?


Shaw's views on civilized society and soldier.

The civilized society, according to Shaw, consists in property, religions, marriage, some vested duties to the state and mutual understandings that remain wrapped up by the sheet of counterfeit and truth. Shaw has delivered blows on our smoky ideas in unbiased manner. In "Arms and the Man" he has lampooned the romantic notions associated with love, marriage and war. The voice of Virgil (in Aeneid) has been re-echoed satirically. According to Shaw, a soldier who is assumed taking the biggest risk, is taken for an icon of bravery. Raina, if taken for the implied conviction, idolizes the knight (Sergius). She worships "the superman" with his military uniform on, chivalry and elegant talks, which virtually distinguish him from the rank and file. For common men they seem to provide lessons of courage, patriotism, faith, hope and charity. Thus, a soldier stands to be an idol and the civillion is an idolator.


Arms and the man ^play^

Hi everybody....:) Im a new member here and hope to learn more about English literautre from you because this what im studying right now :D well, in Drama course we are studying Arms and the man by George bernard shaw . i dont deny that i like it but i have difficulty in summarizing each act :sick: would you guys help me with that :idea: thanx in advance :wave:


help needed with arms and the man//macbeth

Hey!! I am a new member here & hope to get help from u people.I need answers to a few questions related to arms andthe man by bernard shaw & macbeth.. Arms and the man 1)Compare and contrast the character of Sergius with Bluntchli 2)Write a character sketch of Raina macbeth 1)Compare and contrats between Banquo and Macbeth I really hope that some1 helps me find answers 2 these questions soon.. Thanks


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