Question: Why is Arms and the Man called an anti-romantic comedy?
Or, Discuss Arms and the Man as an anti-romantic comedy
Arms and the Man (1894) is an anti-romantic comedy written by George Barnard Shaw (1865-1950). This play is called so because through this comedy Shaw has painted the romantic and idealistic concepts about life and it is a comedy for its comical romantic impressions about love and war.
In the play, Shaw exposes the common belief of the people about soldier and war. People think that soldier as heroic figure above all faults and war as a deed of goodness and fortunate. As Raina and Sergius have a romantic notion about war, but Bluntschli shattered their idea. Because Bluntschli is an expert soldier and handle the situation of a battlefield very neatly. He mentions several remarks about war and soldier to Raina as-
“Nine soldiers out of ten are born fools”,
“All soldiers are afraid to die”,
“It is their duty to live as long as they can.”
He then comments to Raina about Sergius’ foolishness in the battlefield against a battery of machine guns. Meanwhile, Sergius also understands that war is nothing but a ‘fraud’, ‘a hollow sham’.
More Notes of Arms and the Man
Likewise, Shaw exposes the misconception of romantic love by mentioning the love affair of Raina and Sergius. They both speak of higher love but Sergius’ romantic love is crushed immediately when he feels temptation for the maid-servant, Louka. The same thing happens to Raina. She falls in love with Bluntschli when she come across him. Raina and Sergius finally come out from their false conception of so-called higher love and respond to the realities of their lives.
Thus, in Arms and the Man, Shaw states his anti-romantic outlook towards love and war. In spite of idealizing war, he proves that it is nothing but a bogus. He also reveals the stupidities of romantic love. He asserts that love means reality, not romance. According to him, love and marriage should be founded on economic security and mutual understanding.