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Captain Bluntschli, who climbs up on to the balcony and stumbles into Raina's room, is actually not a Serbian, but rather a Swiss mercenary who has been fighting for the Serbian army, something he reveals relatively early in the dialogue. His being a European professional soldier, of a pragmatic bourgeois country and heritage, contrasts strongly with the aristocratic Slavic ethos and traditions of the Petkoff family. He represents a pragmatic and mercantile view of war as opposed to the heroic traditions initially promulgated by the Petkoffs.

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