How would you describe the character of Bluntschli?

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Captain Bluntschli is the opposite of Major Sergius Saranoff, who presents himself as a dashing and romantic military hero. Raina thinks she is in love with Serguis, and he plays his lover's role well. When we first meet Bluntschli, hiding in Raina's bedroom, he is a striking contrast to Serguis. Bluntschli has deserted from the army, where he had been employed as a mercenary or soldier for hire. He has a decidedly unromantic, jaundiced view of military operations, believing that the side that wins a battle is merely less grossly incompetent than the other side. As he doesn't want to kill, he carries chocolate bullets.

Though he is in every way not her ideal hero, being blunt and pragmatic, Bluntschli charms Raina. He is kind and has a good sense of humor. He turns out to be more trustworthy in the end than the heroic-seeming Serguis, who is actually in love with and carrying on with Raina's maid. Shaw suggests through Bluntschli that it is more honest, and hence preferable, to be a down-to-earth realist than to play the false role of a hopeless romantic.

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Captain Bluntschli in Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw is really a stand-in for the playwright, expressing many of Shaw's own ideas and attitudes.

When Captain Bluntschli first enters the room, Shaw provides a very detailed, almost novelistic description of him in the stage directions as:

. . . a man of middling stature and undistinguished appearance, with strong neck and shoulders, a roundish, obstinate looking head . . . clear quick blue eyes, a hopelessly prosaic nose, trim soldierlike carriage and energetic manner . . . with all his wits about him . . . with a sense of humor . . .

The central element of his personality that determines his role in the play is a clear-sighted pragmatism. He is a professional mercenary soldier from a family of successful businessmen. Rather than being caught up in the glory of war, he treats the military as a job, where his aim is to survive and collect his paycheck. Although decent and kindhearted, he tends to shock the conventional with his plain speaking and ability to see the realities behind many commonly accepted conventions. Despite his blunt pragmatism, he does have a romantic streak in matters of the heart, as evinced in his returning to see Raina.

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