Arms and the Man Theme

2938 Words Aug 15th, 2012 12 Pages
George Bernard Shaw wrote Arms and the Man in 1893 during the Victorian era when most plays were lighter dramas or comedies in the vein of The Importance of Being Earnest, which was a play about manners and other Victorian conventions. Still, in many ways, Arms and the Man, despite some of its themes, is a perfect example of Victorian literature. The play opened to the British public in 1894 to mixed reviews and was one of the plays included in the Plays Pleasant Volume which included a few of Shaw’s other, less popular works including “You Never Can Tell.” What is most interesting about Arms and the Man is that, although it is a comedy, it deals with several political and social themes covertly. Ideas such as the idealism behind war and …show more content…
“Arms and the Man” by George Bernard Shaw occurs during the Serbo-Bulgarian War in 1885. She is supposed to marry one of the heroes of the war who she thinks of in terms of the idealized version of soldiers many British held during this pre-World War I era. The peace of the beginning scenes is interrupted with the arrival of a Swiss soldier in Raina’s bedroom asking for a safe place to hide. Raina offers him refuge and laughs because he does not carry guns or ammunition but chocolate instead. As the play progresses, Raina eventually begins to understand that her betrothed does not fit into the same heroic image she has always had and instead begins to fall in love with the Swiss soldier. By the end of the play “Arms and the Man” by George Bernard Shaw she finally declares her love for the soldier and the story ends happily for nearly everyone. What is missing from this short synopsis is the way that George Bernard Shaw addresses the important social issue of class during this time. Throughout “Arms and the Man” George Bernard Shaw he constantly but with subtlety makes a number of important statements about his political and social beliefs about society and class that make reference to the social context of this play—Victorian England.
Throughout “Arms and the Man” by George Bernard Shaw, slight variances are used in the speech of the characters to indicate class distinctions. It is
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