A full summary of Arms and the Man.
Arms and the Man is an anti-war play by George Bernard Shaw. It is one of his first plays, and the title is taken from the first line of Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid ("Arms, and the man I sing..." Book I, line 1.) There is a full summary here at enotes but the gist of the story is this:
It is 1885, and the war between Serbia and Bulgaria is raging. Raina Petkoff, a young Bulgarian woman, is engaged to marry a cavalry officer named Major Sergius Saranoff. A battle takes place close by Raina's home, and she hears that her fiance has distinguished himself in it. To escape the fighting, a Serbian soldier (who is actually a Swiss mercenary) climbs into Raina's window. Raina, hides the soldier, even when she is questioned about it. She learns that the soldier, Captain Bluntschli, does not carry weapons, and really despises war. He carries food instead. The mercenary describes the foolish actions of earnest soldiers, such as those taken by Sergius today. Bluntshli is merely interested in keeping himself alive, not in gaining glory on the battlefield by killing and wounding other people.
Raina agrees to hide the mercenary, and he falls asleep on her bed. Raina's mother, Catherine, finds him, but the family decides to let him hide in their house.
A few months later, Raina's father, a major in the Bulgarian army, comes home and tells the family that the war is over. Major Petkoff also says that Raina's fiance, Sergius, is not a good soldier. Shortly thereafter Sergius arrives, and says that he is leaving the army. He talks about a Swiss officer who had, he says, cheated him in a deal involving a horse, and also who had been sheltered by two Bulgarian ladies during the house-to-house fighting in the...
(The entire section contains 598 words.)
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