In what ways is war romanticized in Arms and the Man?

War is not romanticized in Arms and the Man. Shaw instead satirizes the idea that war is romantic and heroic. He does this through a light-hearted comedy that pits the blunt and honest anti-war Bluntshli against the phony war hero Sergius.

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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...

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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 for some time, has emerged as a great military leader. To her, the battle proved that Sergius was "just as noble as he looks." The Serbian soldier, later revealed to be Bluntschli, seeks shelter in her room following the battle. He reveals to her that the exploits of Sergius were actually foolish, and only succeeded because of the ineptitude of the Serbian army. They had been sent the "wrong cartridges" by the army. Sergius was "charging windmills," thinking that he had "done the greatest thing," but in reality he had just been lucky. He was spared death by an absurd incident that encapsulates the futility of war. The soldier himself has no heart to kill anybody, and in fact carries chocolates in his cartridge box.

Later, it emerges that Sergius's exploits have not advanced him in the ranks of the army. Though his cavalry charge was successful during the battle, it was not in line with conventional military tactics. Other officers, who had behaved "by the book," have been promoted. This happened even though they, unlike Sergius, failed in battle:

I [Sergius] won the battle the wrong way when our worthy Russian generals were losing it the right way. That upset their plans, and wounded their self-esteem. Two of their colonels got their regiments driven back on the correct principles of scientific warfare. Two major-generals got killed strictly according to military etiquette.

Shaw uses this entire incident to satirize both war and the tendency to lionize heroes of war. He portrays war itself as a tragic farce. Its heroes in Arms and the Man are fools. Not only does he not romanticize war, but he mocks those who insist on doing so. In other words, he deliberately satirizes the romanticization of war.

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Shaw does not romanticize war in Arms and the Man. The play only appears appears to do so in order to satirize (poke fun at) the concept of war as romantic and heroic.

In the play, the Serbian Bluntschli is a pragmatic mercenary who tells it like it is. He is pitted as a love rival for Raina against the romantic Bulgarian war hero Sergius. Raina, full of romantic notions about war and heroism, is at first appalled when Bluntschli appears in her bedroom. He has deserted from the Serbian army and needs a place to hide. He tells her he carries chocolate bullets so as not to have to kill and challenges her idea that war is glorious.

Sergius proves to be a hypocrite. He might pose as the dashing war leader but as Bluntschli points out, his side only wins the battle because it is slightly less grossly incompetent than the other side. Sergius pretends to be in love with Raina, but, in fact, is using her as a cover to have an affair with her servant, Louka, the woman he truly loves. Finally, though he is not in love with Raina, Sergius feels compelled to try to live up to cardboard notions of heroism by challenging Bluntschli to a duel when Sergius realizes he is a romanic rival.

Shaw uses light-hearted comedy to point out the absurdity of war and the foolishness of romanticizing violence.

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The main aim of George Bernard Shaw in his play Arms and the Man is to debunk the romantic image of war; as a playwright, Shaw deromanticizes war by mocking or undermining characters who have the unrealistic view that war is glamorous.

While Shaw himself does not consider war romantic, several of the characters in the play do start out with that position, although the events of the play and Captain Bluntschli's arguments eventually move both the characters and the audience to a more realistic view. 

Raina originally has a glamorous ideal of war based on a combination of epic and romantic poetry. She projects this ideal onto Sergius, who himself is caught up in the problem of trying to live up to the mythos of the war hero. 

The difference between the practical approach to war of mercenaries and the romanticism of amateurs is seen in Bluntschli's description of Sergius' charge:

He did it like an operatic tenor—a regular handsome fellow, with flashing eyes and lovely moustache, shouting a war-cry and charging like Don Quixote at the windmills. We nearly burst with laughter at him; ...

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