Homework Help

Discuss the themes of "Romanticism of war" and "Romanticism of love" in Arms and the...

user profile pic

lola21 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Honors

Posted January 7, 2010 at 11:14 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Discuss the themes of "Romanticism of war" and "Romanticism of love" in Arms and the Man.

4 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted January 8, 2010 at 2:46 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

Raina Petkoff, the young daughter of the Bulgarian Major, is betrothed to Sergius Saranoff who leads a cavalry charge against the Serbian artillery at the battle of Slivnitza. Sergius wins the battle for the simple reason that the Serbian artillery-men are supplied with wrong ammunition. Sergius, Raina's 'soul's hero', immediately becomes 'the hero of Slivnitza', though he wins just by fluke, wins because he ventures in the most idiotic and unprofessional manner.

Raina's worshipful adoration of Sergius and her great excitement about his heroic display in the battle-front suggest a combination of the theme of 'Romanticism of War' and the 'Romanticism of Love'. But the fugitive, a professional soldier in the defeated Serbian artillery, reveals to Raina how foolishly absurd has been Sergius's cavalry charge, a Quixotic adventurism, and he should have been courtmartialled for his absurdly romantic unprofessionalism.

Returning from the battle, Sergius, looks rather disillusioned for not being promoted. What is worse, he begins to flirt with the Petkoff maid Louka behind Raina's back. On the other hand, the figitve soldier, Captain Bluntschli, returns to win the love of Raina.

Shaw's play, 'Arms and the Man' is a wonderful critique of both 'Romanticism of War' and 'Romanticism of Love'. The Shavian protagonist, Bluntschli brings forth a new brand of 'Romanticism' far from Sergius's sentimentalism and showmanship.

user profile pic

cjk | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 8, 2010 at 12:58 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

It could be referring to the metaphor of 'arms and the man' -arms being at one point a military weapon which a man carries and kills with, as well as arms which enfold the beloved in  romantic love. Find examples of each in the novel, and how the compare/contrast each other: juxapose each other. Ask why is this part of the theme of the story-what was the author getting at? How is war romatisized in historical accounts-why is it? You could go on and on...

user profile pic

Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 8, 2010 at 2:06 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 1 like

Raina embodies this topic, with her idealized perception of her fiance, Sergius, who is an officer leading a battle in Bulgaria. Raina sees Sergius as a sort of prince charming, knight in a shining armour courageously defeating the masses. She even looks down on Bluntschli at first for his unwillingness to die and his fear of battle. Yet, she hides him and ends up falling in love with him.

All these elements make war look like a place where love stories can develop, or a topic which can branch out into some hot romantic situation, yet, not long after this play World War I occurred and for the first time people were able to see that being a soldier, being in fear of dying, and the bloodshed of war were not topics of which one can make a playful story out of.

user profile pic

maheshsonu18 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:15 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

Raina Petkoff, the young daughter of the Bulgarian Major, is betrothed to Sergius Saranoff who leads a cavalry charge against the Serbian artillery at the battle of Slivnitza. Sergius wins the battle for the simple reason that the Serbian artillery-men are supplied with wrong ammunition. Sergius, Raina's 'soul's hero', immediately becomes 'the hero of Slivnitza', though he wins just by fluke, wins because he ventures in the most idiotic and unprofessional manner.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes