First, Arms and the Man does not romanticize war. Rather, it is intended to show, through satire, that war is futile, tragic, and ultimately absurd. There are some characters in the play who do romanticize war, but this is only because they have not participated in it. When the play begins, Raina and her mother Catherine each have romanticized notions of war, as when Catherine describes a battle between the Bulgarians and the Serbs in which Sergius had supposedly acted very gallantly:
You can’t guess how splendid it is. A cavalry charge—think of that! He defied our Russian commanders—acted without orders—led a charge on his own responsibility—headed it himself—was the first man to sweep through their guns. Can’t you see it, Raina; our gallant splendid Bulgarians with their swords and eyes flashing, thundering down like an avalanche and scattering the wretched Servian dandies like chaff.
Raina is spellbound by this account, and very relieved that Sergius, who has courted her...
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