Discuss 'higher love' in the context of Raina Sergius relationship in Arms and the Man.

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arkaless | College Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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The term "higher love" has been mockingly used by Shaw to suggest the absurdity of the romantic sentimentalism of Raina-Sergius relationship, especially the hypocritical idealism of Raina's "soul's hero", Sergius Saranoff. The Petkoff wax-doll, Raina, admires Sergius for his facade of heroism and romanticism. But the "hero of Slivnitza" does not hesitate to flirt with the Petkoff house-maid, Louka, behind Raina's back. Sergius's secret overtures to Louka and the behaviour as well as observations of the professional Serbian soldier, Bluntschli, make Raina understand that Sergius is not only a foolhardy soldier, but also an untrusworthy lover who is just engaged in cultivating appearances of love and heroism with ulterior purposes. Shaw uses the term "higher love" to ridicule the idea of an ideal romantic love which is based on mutually flattering lip-service and false adoration. Sergius's plea for flirting with Louka is characteristic of a self-gratifying opportunist, and the so-called "higher love" is all bogus and rhetorical.

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