What is the main theme of Shaw's Arms and the Man?

1 Answer | Add Yours

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Shaw's title of his play, Arms and the Man is taken from the opening line of Virgil's epic The Aeneid  - "Of arms and the man I sing."  The play was first produced on April 21st 1894 and was a huge success. The background of the play is the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian war. Virgil's Aeneid is a military epic and glorifies war whereas Shaw's main purpose in writing the play was to criticize the romantic notions associated with war.  This is emphatically revealed in Act I when Bluntschli tells the scared Raina,

What use are cartridges in battle ? I always carry chocolate instead ;

Shaw's satire against war proved very prophetic when  the First World War broke out in 1914. It was only then that the British were cured of their romantic notions of war.

We’ve answered 317,422 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question