Comment on Shaw’s views on love and war in Arms and the Man.
Evaluate Arms and the Man as an anti-romantic comedy.***********
“Arms and the Man”, the great anti-romantic play by G.B. Shaw, exposes the futilities of love and war. Shaw has discouraged the readers to have the romanticized notion about war and higher love . He has skillfully sketched the characters of Raina Petkoff and Sergius Saranoff who do not have the practical understanding of love and war.
To begin with, the meeting between Raina and Captain Bluntschli has done away with Raina’s illusions about love and war which helps the audience to have a comprehensive understanding of the differences between higher love and real love.
Afterwards, Shaw unravels the realities of war as we come to know Captain Bluntschli’s words related war who says, “Nine out of ten soldiers are born fools.” Bluntschili added that it was their duty to live as long as they can. In fact, it is wise to evade clashes and it is unwise to risk life for attacking enemies.
Moreover, Bluntschli talked about carrying chocolates in his pockets in the battle fields instead of ammunitions because he believed that most soldiers in the battle field die due to lack of food. Captain Bluntschli, the chocolate cream solder of Raina, is a practical warrior who understands the underlying facts of war and love.
Interestingly, Raina and Sergius are of the same view that war is an occasion of putting on show a soldier’s caliber. Both of them used to believe in the existence of higher love between them which is as a matter of fact of no use to them. Though Raina considers Sergius to be a hero as she came to know about his false heroism, she refuses to marry him. In fact, Raina comes to know the reality from Captain Bluntschli who said that if the Serbian had proper ammunitions, Sergius’ cavalry charge would be suicidal and the Bulgarians could be massacred.
As a consequence, Sergius also comes to know about the reality of war because he was not promoted to higher ranks as he won the battle in the wrong manner. The play asserts that you will be rewarded even if you fail to reach your goal but you have to follow the correct course of action.
Furthermore, Arms and the Man unravels the futility of idealized love. Both Raina and Sergius believed to have ‘Higher Love’ for each other. This so called higher love could not make them a good match. Sergius falls in love with Louka, the beautiful maid servant of the Petkoff’s family. On the other hand, Raina falls in love with Captain Bluntschli as she becomes disillusioned about Sergius who is in a romantic relationship with Louka.
In fact, Shaw has revealed his attitude against the romantic ideas of love and war in “Arms and the Man” which has a happy ending when real love occupies the lives of major characters.
In conclusion, War, the greatest evil on earth, should never be idealized and encouraged. Thanks to G.B. Shaw who has made an attempt to expose the realities of love and war in “Arms and the Man” which is a great example of an anti-romantic comedy.