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Arms and the Man

George Bernard Shaw

Contents

Character List

Character List

Character List

Character List

Raina -  The play’s protagonist and heroine. Raina is a young woman living in the provinces in Bulgaria, and born into the wealthy Petkoff family. She pines for her fiancé Sergius, who has just led a successful, if ill-planned, cavalry charge against the Serbs. Raina meets and falls in love with Bluntschli, the Swiss “chocolate cream soldier” fighting for the Serbs.

Read an in-depth analysis of Raina.

Bluntschli  -  Swiss mercenary fighting for the Serbs, and Raina’s love interest, who she calls “the chocolate cream soldier.” He is skilled in warfare and emotionally sophisticated, but has a weakness for sweets. Bluntschli hides in Raina’s room with her help. When he returns in the spring to return Major Petkoff’s cloak, events are set into motion that bring out Catherine and Raina’s conspiracy to help him, and that lead to his engagement to Raina and an ultimately happy ending.

Read an in-depth analysis of Bluntschli.

Sergius -  Raina’s fiancé, and the hero of the Battle of Slivnitza. Sergius, by his own and many others’ admission, has no military skill. He led the charge out of a mixture of foolhardiness and desire for self-aggrandizement. Sergius flirts with the Petkoffs’ servant Louka, and the play ends in their engagement.

Read an in-depth analysis of Sergius.

Catherine -  Raina’s mother, and matriarch of the Petkoff household. Catherine wants to marry off her daughter to as wealthy and prominent a man as possible. When Sergius appears to be this man, Catherine approves of the union. As it becomes clear that Sergius is not the man he presented himself to be, Catherine is willing to switch her allegiances to Bluntschli. Catherine is focused on making sure the Petkoffs’ are up-to-date in their home furnishings and technology.

Read an in-depth analysis of Catherine.

Louka  -  The Petkoffs’ female servant. Louka is engaged to Nicola, the head male servant. She has a vexed if flirtatious relationship with Sergius, who engaged to Raina. Louka wants to better her social station by marrying a noble, and criticizes Nicola for having no aspirations over those of a common servant.

Read an in-depth analysis of Louka.

Major Petkoff -  Head of the Petkoff family, and Raina’s father. The Major is a decent if unambitious soldier, and he seems concerned mostly with maintaining his family’s social position in the rural parts of Bulgaria. He and Catherine are willing to accept Bluntschli as Raina’s suitor by the play’s end only after he demonstrates just how wealthy he is.
Nicola -  Head male servant of the Petkoff estate. Nicola initially reprimands Louka for her willingness to leverage information she’s heard as gossip against the Petkoffs. Louka feels that Nicola is not ambitious enough because he is content to be a servant for the rest of his life. Nicola ends the play by breaking his engagement amicably with Louka, allowing her to be engaged to Sergius.
Bluntschli’s friend  -  A soldier for the Serbian side, who knows Bluntschli. This unnamed friend meets Petkoff and Sergius during an exchange of goods. He tells them a story about his friend who hid in a Bulgarian home and escaped with the help of two Bulgarian women. Petkoff and Sergius have no idea this soldier’s story is about Bluntschli, Raina, and Catherine.
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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