Throw light on the main theme of the drama Arms and the Man. How can it be associated with both the themes of war and love?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one way in which Shaw's work can be linked to the concept of love and war is in the way in which Shaw suggests that there is an excessive Romanticism intrinsic to each.  Shaw writes his work with the idea that social convention and norms dictate an automatic Romanticizing of love and war, without a real questioning as to why these are the way they are.  The love that Raina and Sergius share is one that appears to be true on the surface.  To all who look, it is a love that is sincere.  Yet, there is an emptiness there, something that reflects an expectation of Romanticism.  This same type of love that only exists at a surface level and is not substantive can be seen in the love of war.  The symbolic action that Bluntschii does not carry bullets, but chocolate is reflective of the hollow reverence that war commands. Shaw criticizes the social expectation of war that sees it as glorious and honorable, something that is filled with valor, as opposed to examining it for the act of savage brutality.  It is here where I think that Shaw is able to use his work to thematically develop the Romanticism intrinsic to love and war.  This social condition is one in which Shaw is calling out for change.