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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Taken from the opening to Virgil's The Aeneid, the title of George Bernard Shaw's play Arms and the Man reflects the adventures and misadventures of the Swiss soldier Bluntschli. A Swiss mercenary soldier (paid soldier for hire), Bluntschli doesn't carry cartridges for his weapon. Instead he carries Swiss chocolates. For a paid soldier, he certainly doesn't enjoy his work because he bursts into the home of a private citizen and begs protection. He is hidden and then sneaked out in Raina's (the heroine's) father's old housecoat. It is revealed at the end of the play that she puts a photograph with an inscription in the pocket for him to find. The play therefore has its title because the hero, a soldier, doesn't do too well as a man of arms, but he does very well as a man of respect and honor.

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Arms and the Man

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