Arms and the man summary: Analysis

Arms and the man summary

Arms and the Man by George Barnard Shaw’s satirical comedy-drama. His most infamous work of all time. His intention was to tell people how war is useless and ignorance is a mistake. He sterilized both heroism and destroyed the idea of romantic notions in the drama. Arms and the Man is a very real drama.  

Arms and the man summary Here we are going to analyse from the drama. In the act-I

Arms and the man summary, we were introduced by the play, Raina is a girl who is in love with Sergius who is a soldier. Her reverence for Sergius was deeply portrayed in the drama. Later events surprised the audience when the man named Bluntschli appeared. When Raina was threatened by Bluntschli if she did not help him, he would kill her.


Well, I don’t intend to get killed if I can help it. (Still more determinedly.) Do you 

understand that? (He locks the door with a snap.) 

RAINA. (disdainfully). I suppose not. (She draws herself up superbly, and looks him straight in the face, saying with emphasis) Some soldiers, I know, are afraid of death. 

MAN. (with grim good humor). All of them, dear lady, all of them, believe me. It is our duty to live as long as we can and kill as many of the enemies as we can. Now if you raise an alarm

Raina’s belief in war and heroism is unrealistic and Bluntschli’s words were very comedic as well as sarcastic but true.  

We can say that Shaw perhaps told here, by the character Bluntschli, that all humans are afraid of death and someone is a soldier that does not mean he is unafraid of death. It is instinctual in humans. Whereas Raina the dreamy character’s ideas here are completely different. The realistic thoughts told by Shaw by the characters of the play.

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Arms and the man summary analysis,
Arms and the man summary

In the second act- Arms and the man summary

the true nature of the relationship between Sergius and Raina finally unveiled. Where the audience can see the surprise. Sergius flirted behind the back of Raina with her servant Louka. The shallowness of the love audience can get to feel by the character Sergius.

Louka, even though she is a servant but that does not stop her from being ambitious. Even after being engaged to Nikola, the head servant of the Petkoff family she played hard to get with Sergius.  

Love is thin like a paper in the ‘Arms and the Man’ Shaw attacks genially the romantic notions of war and love. He has adopted a realistic approach in depicting everyday activities that were common in those days. 

Raina, even though firstly appeared very ignorant later Shaw told the audience that we were wrong. Because in act-III Raina said, “Do you know that I looked out of the window as I went upstairs, to have another sight of my hero; and I saw something that I did not understand then. I know now that you were making love to her”.  

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(cynically). Raina: our romance is shattered. Life’s a farce. 


(to Raina, good humoredly). You see: he’s found himself out now.  

Here, We can get the glimpse of how sergius is two faced lecherous person is. 

Whereas Bluntschli is straightforward, comedic and good with word character.  

Arms and the man summary In act-III

 the audience finally gets to see the drama where Sergius and Bluntschi face each other. Arms and the man summary, I personally enjoyed that part a lot. When Sergius told Bluntschli to duel him because he is Sergius’ rival. Sergius will bring his sabre. In answer 

Bluntschli told him he will bring a machine gun. Because he is in an artillery unit.

Arms and the man summary, The whole play is a journey of laugh, drama, jokes, but also about the reality of human life is how we waste time-fighting each other. Love can be delusional and sometimes we just love the ideas of love that we are in love with and how ignorance can blind us to believe what we do not know well about. Shaw’s Arms and the Man’ is a perfect example.

Critically explain Arms and the Man as a satirical drama

George Bernard Shaw’s, “Arms and the Man” is a romantic comedy-drama which sets in the Petkoff household in Bulgaria, demonstrates the futility of war, and deals humorously with the pretension of human characteristics.

War and love, both are the main facts that can be easily seen through the whole drama “Arms and the Man”. The satire of the whole story consists of these two important functions. George Bernard Shaw wanted to show a realistic notion of war and love, not the unrealistic romantic notion that Raina and Sergius had in the story. In the story, Sergius achieved victory from Serbian armies. To get recognized and famous, he tried to act as a hero but ended up with foolish actions which could be made him die. Hearing Sergius’s achievement, Raina made a romantic notion into her mind and dreamt to be the bride of her heroic fiancée Sergius. Here, people think of war as a fairy tale or something romantic. However, in reality, war is dangerous and horrible. It can be bloody. bring poverty, and separate people from their family.

Bluntschli came into Raina’s room with his injuries and showed his coward attributes

Even they pointed a gun towards Raina for defense. At first, he seemed to be a coward but as the story progressed he was actually being practical. According to him, war is not something romantic that Raina, Sergius, and Catherine thought of. A soldier goes to war because they regard it as a job. War is an unreasonable action that could hurt people. Problems between countries or businesses can be solved in peace. But at the beginning, they were thinking of war as an act of heroism, pride, and patriotism. They believe, no matter what the consequences are, a soldier risks his life to save their country from the enemies. That’s why the war of the story seems like a satire.

Marriage is not a plaything. It is a matter of two person’s whole life

A single mistake can destroy both lives. George Bernard Shaw thinks that marriage happens in order to remain a better generation. Here, in the name of higher love or a serious relationship, Sergius and Raina playing with each other’s feelings. Though they are fiancée, they are actually cheating on each other. Sergius’s love triangle part is quite funny. He flirts with Louka, cheats on Raina behind her back, still cannot endure when Raina has feelings for captain Bluntschli. Raina only loved the imagination of love, not Sergius. She was unaware of her feelings at first. She only loved romanticism and always immersed in romantic thoughts. Both Raina and Sergius were bound with social dignity. The social rules and requirements made them together as a fiancée, not because they were in love. They both were unknown of their true-self. On another part, Nicola who was loyal, remain single. These are the satirical part of the story about the romantic notion of love. However, in the end, Bluntschli made them examine their true feelings and they both contain the courage to follow their heart. 

The romantic notion of love and war, both were quite satirical in the story. Both Raina and Sergius thought of war and love as fairytales which was way more different from realism.

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