Which character best serves as George Bernard Shaw's spokesperson in Arms and the Man? How?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the best ways to see who speaks for the playwright in Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw is to read the Preface. Shaw is notorious for writing long, entertaining essays as prefaces to his plays which explore many of the issues he is addressing and guide his audiences in interpreting his plays.

This play was first performed in 1894 and was written partly in response to the real, historical Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885, a war deeply unpopular with the Serbians and eventually concluded by a treaty which actually changed very little.

Shaw's aim in the play was to show that war is not glamorous and heroic, but a grimly practical business. He makes fun of what he considers the silly romantic posturing of Sergius and uses the persona of Captain Bluntschli, a reluctant soldier with few illusions, to express his opinions. In one way, the marriage in the end is a triumph of the realism of the "chocolate cream soldier" over romantic ideals, but even more profoundly, it is a statement that real love and romance are not about verbal hyperbole and roleplaying, but about sharing ideas and goals in everyday life.