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Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw: The Theme of Appearance and Reality

By fawzyzko Apr 23, 2015 1536 Words
The theme of appearance and reality

Arms and the Man are considered as one of the most important plays written by George Bernard Show. Through out of his play, show attacks and satirizes the hypocritical society in which the appearance of people differs from their reality. The petkoff family is an example of the hypocritical people in society. They pretend to be more civilized that what they really are. Petkoff always proud that he was a library which is full of books though he was never read any of them. Petkoff is a flat character who stands for the newly rich class which has money and social position but lacks manner and good behavior. Petkoff mocks Catherine for having a daily bath and says that his father had it once in his life. Besides, he pretends to be courageous in all situations. But in reality, he has no control over his wife and daughter. Thus, he may be brave in war but he’s a puppet hand of his wife. Lady Catherine is another superficial character who cares only for appearances. She is infatuated by the handsome appearance of her daughter’s fiancé and she dreams of being younger 10 years. Besides, at first she treats bluntschli badly thinking he is a poor soldier but when she discovers his fortune and his social position, she accepts him as her son in law. Thus, appearances count for more than a true moral character.

Another character which represents the idea of appearance versus reality is Raina. She is a beautiful romantic character girl who believes in romanticism in both love and war; and so she doesn’t live in a world of reality. What brings her back to the world o reality is the appearance of sergius in her life she begins to discover her self and so she abandons the world of illusion.

Comparison and contrast bet. Characters

Through his play Arms and the Man, George Bernard show manages to reflect his theme through the contrast between characters such as opposition between characters of bluntschli and sergius as well as the opposition between the characters of both Raina and Louka. Bluntschli is the protagonist in the play because his role is essential to the development of the plot. He is an ambitious person who is practical, realistic and brave. However, he’s not a noble man because he doesn’t fight because of his patriotism but rather he fights because fighting for him is a trade like any other one. Bluntschli is the real representative of true and real love. He’s the chocolate cream soldier. He refuses to marry raina at first assuming that she’s only seventeen years old. Immediately after proposing to her, he starts talking about peace treaty between the Bulgarian army and the Serbs. This sudden change from love to war emphasizes the practically of Bluntschli.

As for sergius, he’s a false lover and a hypocrite. He pretends to be faithful to his fiancé Raina while at the same time he plays love Lauka; Raina’s maid. Thus, unlike bluntschli whose love is true and honest, sergius doesn’t understand the true meaning of love because it’s only limited to the physical side. UN like Bluntschli who is quite brave in war, sergius is very coward and he’s indecisive. This is quite clear when he admits to lauka that he is not as brave as people think him to be. Sergius suffers from an inner conflict and what explodes this conflict inside him is the news he receives from lauka that a stranger has spent a night with his fiancé Raina. He finally turns back into the world of reality and decides to marry the servant simply because he’s in love with her.

Discuss Show’s views of women.

Through out of his play Arms and the Man, George Bernard Show reflects his view of women with the complexity of their nature through three major characters: Lady Catherine, Louka and Raina. Lady Catherine is represented by show as atypical superficial Bulgarian wife. She acts according to appearances not reality. This is clear when she infatuated by the external handsome appearance of her daughter’s fiancé sergius. She becomes so fascinated by him to the extent that she dreams of being ten years younger. Besides, she treats Bluntschli badly thinking him to be a poor soldier; but when she discovers his fortune and his social position, she accepts him as her son in law. Thus, she doesn’t care for his age or nationality as much as she cares for his appearance in society. She is flat character because she never changes or develops.

As for Raina, she is heroine of the play. At the beginning of the play, she emerges as a very romantic lady who is dreaming a lot. And this is clear when she always looks at the moon and the star light. She is also very humane and this is quite obvious when she thinks that there’s no glory at all in killing the fugitives. It’s also clear when she saves the life of Bluntschli after getting into her room. Raina is a lady who was living in the world of fantasy and illusion. The one who brings her to the world of reality is Bluntschili. He tells her about the truth of her fiancé showing her how coward he is. By the end of act1, an inner conflict within her erupts between loving Bluntschli and her romantic ideal of being a wife to sergius. This conflict ends by the triumph of reality to romanticism; and so she accepts the proposal of bluntschli. Concerning Louka, she is the maid of the rich family of general petkoff. She is very practical and ambitious.

Comment no 4

“My dear young lady, don’t pet this worry you. Remember I’m a soldier………… This context is derived from George Bernard shows play Arms and the Man which is regarded as one of his most popular plays. These words are mentioned by Bluntschili to Raina. After he has spent his night at Raina’s house. Bluntschili arrives suddenly at general Petkoff’s house to sign a peace treaty between the Serbs and the Bulgarians. Petkoff knows Bluntschili and he knows that this fugitive has spent a night’s in lady’s chamber but he doesn’t know that this lady is his own daughter. Immediately before this context, Raina has been talking to Bluntschili about the night which he has spent in her room. She threatens that if sergius knows the fact that he has spent his night at her room, he will challenge him into a duel and so he will be killed she also tells him that she always desired to be perfect with sergius to keep their noble and beautiful relation. She also tells him that it’s because of him that she has lied twice. In this context, Bluntschili proves himself to be a quite brave and honest soldier. He tells her that soldiers are always accustomed to lies and so she should never worry for her lies. Besides, Bluntschili hints at the fact that sergius is not quite brave and that he’s a coward who always lies. Thus, this context sheds light on the main theme behind the play which is that of love and war.

Comment no 2
“I want to be quite perfect with sergius: no meanness, no smallness ………” This context is derived from George Bernard shows play Arms and the Man which is considered as one of his most popular plays. The words of this context are said by Raina, THE heroine of the play, to Bluntschli in ActII after he has already taken refuge in her room for one night. She is conscience sticken because she feels that she has betrayed her fiancé by allowing Bluntschli to spend his night at her house and by hiding this secret from him. This context sheds light on the character of Raina. She is a romantic dreamer who is living in the world of illusion. She lives in the illusion that sergius is as noble and true to her as she is to him. She believes that he never lies to her and never betrays her and so she should

Context no 1

“I have no ammunition. What use are cartridges In battle?.........” This context is derived from George Bernard shows play Arms and the Man which is regarded as one of his most popular plays. These words are mentioned by bluntschli and are addressed to Raina. Raina has saved Bluntscli’s life by allowing him to stay in her bed chamber till the following day and also by lying to the officers who searched her room. While talking to Bluntschili, Raina unfortunately sits on his pistol and so she jumps up with a shriek. Bluntschili then, assures her that she should not be afraid of the pistol since it’s not loaded. He tells her, in this context, that he has no ammunition or bullets as he always carry chocolate and cake instead. Through this context, Shaw tries to show that Bluntschili doesn’t fight for patriotism or heroism and that instead of he fights because fighting for him is a profession. For Bluntschili, chocolate and food are much more important than bullets and ammunition.

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