Who is the speaker of this line from "Arms and the Man", and what impression of the speaker do you get from the line..."Let them quarrel with me if they dare!"
This line is spoken by Louka, a maid in the Petkoff household. She is speaking to Nicola, a servant. Nicola has warned Louka to mind her manners in front of the mistress, and Louka, who knows "some family secrets", responds, "Let them quarrel with me if they dare!" (Act 2).
Louka's words give the impression that she is a brash, confident young woman with a rebellious spirit. She appears to be resentful of her station in life, and is unafraid to stand up to anyone who would take advantage of her, regardless of their position. She might be someone who speaks and acts before she thinks, however, because when Nicola points out the consequences which might befall her if she continues in her feisty insolence, she reacts with surprise that he knows more about her than she had believed. Louka thinks that Nicola "has the soul of a servant", but when Nicola advises her that if she acts with restraint and gains the mistress's trust, she will better be able to "make the most out of them" in the end, Louka responds with "scorn" that is tempered with "searching". Louka is hot-blooded and defiant, but it seems that she will, however grudgingly, consider the advice of others.