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MonkeyNotes-Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw
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Bluntschli accepts the chocolate creams with gratitude and finishes them with relish. Satiated, he thanks her profusely and then explains that the older soldiers carry food and the younger ones carry ammunition. Raina is contemptuous and claims to be more brave although a woman. Bluntschli explains the realities of war; he tells her that a man is bound to be a nervous wreck if he has been under fire for three whole days. Raina retorts that Bulgarian soldiers don't buckle under such stress. Bluntschli disagrees and gives her his views on the Bulgarian victory at Slivnitza. He tells her that the Bulgarian cavalry won out of sheer ignorance. In his opinion they were unprofessional. It was stupid to make a cavalry charge against a battery of machine guns. Raina is eager to hear more of it and Bluntschli gives her a detailed account without realizing that the leader of the cavalry charge, the object of his ridicule, was Raina's lover. Sergius horse had charged ahead and could not be controlled. Raina thinks Sergius must have charged ahead of the others because he was the bravest of them all. Bluntschli tells her only the young soldiers charge wildly without realizing they can be shot easily whereas the older soldiers go in groups realizing the futility of fighting. Raina insists that the leader was certainly not a coward and she is eager to get a more detailed description of his action. She is breathless with anticipation. Bluntschli describes him vividly. " He did it like an operatic tenor. A regular handsome fellow, with flashing eyes and lovely moustache, shouting his war-cry and charging like Don Quixote at the windmills. We did laugh ." Bluntschli's comments show that he is a man of some sophistication to be able to compare Sergius to an operatic tenor as well as Don Quixote. It is also noteworthy that while he describes the foolishness of the Bulgarian soldiers, he is realistic about his own side. It's the height of irresponsibility that the Serbians did not have proper ammunition to retaliate. The Bulgarians have won a victory out of sheer luck or else their strategy was suicidal. In his opinion Sergius ought to be court marshaled for being so unprofessional. It is important to notice that Bluntschli feels embarrassed when he recognizes Sergius in the photograph and learns that he is Raina's lover.


He is apologetic. He does care for her feelings. He has succeeded in deflating Raina's exaggerated picture of Sergin's heroism.

Raina is offended and asks him how she should treat her enemy, after all, Bluntschli was at her mercy. Bluntschli flatters her by saying "to my last hour I shall remember those three chocolate creams." She is still faithful to Sergius and will not tolerate a man who laughed at her hero. The prospect of going down the pipeline scares him but he has to accept the inevitable. Besides, he is now so sleepy that he is unable to think of capture or death clearly. As he attempts to go there are gunshots, Raina drags him in.

What follows is interesting. Raina wishes to impress him and tells him that if he had knocked at their door for shelter, they, who believe in hospitality, would have sheltered him. She tries to show off her sophistication and assure him that their sense of hospitality was as strong as that of the nobleman in the opera "Ernani". In that story the hero fleeing from his enemy takes refuge in the castle of a Castilian noble who belongs to the enemy camp. The nobleman protects him as his great and refuses to give him up. Bluntschli mixes up Ernani with Faust since he is overcome with sleep. Once again displaying some familiarity with the opera. Bluntschli also talks about his father's hospitality; after all, he is a hotel owner. Raina even brags about the staircase and the library in their house. She asks him to wait till she calls her mother. When the mother enters with Raina, he is fast asleep. Raina's comment "Don't mamma, the poor darling is worn out. Let him sleep," shocks Major Petkoff.

There are general contrasts in this act. Raina's dreamy romantic nature is a contrast to her mother's energetic manner. Bluntschli's shabby state is marked by a contrast to the smart appearance of Sergius in the photograph. Notice also the reaction of Bluntschli when he sees the photograph. Raina showed him the photograph expecting some admiration but in contrast, Bluntschli laughs at the photograph.

There is dramatic irony in this Act and a contamination of it in Act two and three as well. When Bluntschli describes the cavalry charge he compares Sergius to Don Quixote not knowing that he is Raina's lover. The audience knows it.

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