In this 1894 play that skewers glorifying warfare and making heroes of soldiers, Captain Bluntschli is the practical realist who sets the action in motion by deserting from the army and hiding in Raina's bedroom after he climbs her balcony. He puts chocolates rather than bullets in his gun belt and attempts to disillusion Raina about the romance of the battlefield.
Major Sergius Saranoff, on the other hand, harbors deeply romantic and unrealistic ideas about war and love. He plays the part of the dashing and heroic officer, but in fact, he is incompetent on the battlefield. He wants to believe he is in love with Raina, but in fact he falls in love with her ambitious maid, Louka. He has to come to terms with the disjunct between his romantic ideals and the reality of who he is.
While Bluntschli and Saranoff in some ways represent polar opposites, the hard-headed realist versus the hypocritical romantic, both move toward the center, striking a balance between realism
and idealism. As both accept who they really are, each pairs up with the right woman.