From your study of Act 1 of Arms and the Man, comment on Shaw's strong anti romantic stand about war and love.

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shaw is an accomplished satirist, and Arms and the Man is his take on the romanticizing of war and love as conquest. In Act I, we see the send-up of the glorified version of war. Rather than the clear battle of right against wrong for the good of the world, Shaw presents the everyday realities of combat, which are dirty and exhausting. Bluntschli is starving and filthy when he sneaks into Raina's room, and there is no sense that one side is right in the battle. He earns his name "The Chocolate Cream Soldier" from the fact that he eagerly eats the sweets Raina offers him, and states that any real soldier would rather have chocolate than bullets in his belt.

As for love, Raina and Sergius are determined to marry each other, because they've been told it's right. They don't love one another, and Sergius openly makes passes at other women. Yet for Raina, Sergius represents the romantic war hero, suitable for her to marry. Conversely, Raina symbolizes the perfect wife: the right social status and upbringing. They are both acting according to what society has told them they should want, rather than what they truly want.