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Arms and the Man

George Bernard Shaw




Sergius is Raina’s foil. He too is revealed to be far different than he first appears. He is not quite the noble hero of the Battle of Slivnitza. As Bluntschli notes, his cavalry charge was at best ill-informed, and it played to Sergius’s vanity. On top of this, Sergius admits to Louka, later in the play that he is a man of “many personalities.” He is no constant lover, and he has designs on Louka even while he maintains his engagement to Raina. Whereas Raina is revealed to be complex in a human and forgivable way, Sergius comes off as duplicitous and willing to manipulate the truth for his own purposes and at the expense of other people’s happiness. That Sergius winds up engaged at the play’s end is a jarring example of Shaw’s moral universe. Shaw does not always punish characters who might seem deserving of it. But Sergius does marry “below his station,” even as Louka improves hers.

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by MariaDPettiford, November 02, 2017

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw, whose title comes from the opening words of Virgil's Aeneid, in Latin: Arma virumque cano.

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Arms and the Man