Louka is designed as a foil to Raina. Examine the statement with reference to the two women's attitude to love in G.B. Shaw's Arms and the Man.
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In works of fiction or drama the term foil refers to a character who contrasts with another character, more often than not, the protagonist. The purpose of such contrast is to highlight various features of that other character to bring him/her in a sharper focus.
Louka, the clever, ambitious and very matter-of-fact house-maid of the Petkoffs has been designed as a foil to the young Petkoff girl, Raina. Born and brought up in a fashionable , elite and protective environment, Raina holds a very romantic and sentimental attitude to life. Away from the hard actualities, Raina lives in a world of illusions, a world of romance and adventurism, a world that seems to have been realized so spectacularly by her betrothed lover, Sergius, as he wins the battle of Slivnitza by a cavalry charge against the Serbian artillery. But the fugitive Swiss soldier, an experienced war-professional, disillusions Raina about love and war. Sergius, on his return from the battle, secretly flirts with Louka, behind Raina's back. As the professional soldier returns, Raina finds her "chocolate cream soldier" a lover worthier and more acceptable than the hypocritical Sergius, already trapped by the house-maid, Louka.
Louka, an ambitious and clever maid, looks forward to climb the social ladder. She is supposedly engaged to another servant, Nicola; but she does not want to marry him for Nicola appears as extremely submissive and servile to his master and mistress. Louka rather entices Sergius and compels him to marry her rather than Raina. Louka knows all about the secret presence of the Swiss soldier in Raina's bed-chamber, and also knows that Raina would prefer to marry the professional soldier who is the son of a rich hotelier. Louka is an approximation of the Shavian "new woman" and a foil to the young heroine in Arms and the Man.
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