Question: Why does Bluntschli compare Sergius to Don Quixote?
Arms and the Man (1894) is one of the famous comedy in the history of English literature written by George Bernard Shaw (1865-1950). This drama was one of Shaw’s first commercial successes. The play shows the inadequacy of war and deals with the duplicities of human nature humorously.
In this famous play, the hero Bluntschli compares Sergius, the leader of the cavalry charge to Don Quixote. Bluntschli tells Raina, the heroine of the play, that Sergius did not act like a hero in the battle field but led the charge like a fool. Though Sergius tried to show his heroism in the battle, all efforts went in vein. He did not realize that if the Serbians had enough ammo in their machine-guns, the Bulgarians could not stand before them. They would be massacred. Sergius seemed to be a romantic hero to Bluntschli when he(S) was advancing towards the machine-guns. He with his big bright eyes and amusing mustache looked like an opera hero according to Bluntschli. All the time he was shouting to the best level of his voice to encourage his soldiers. At that time, he looked like Don Quixote. As Bluntschli says-
“A regular handsome fellow, with flashing eyes and lovely moustache shouting his war-cry and charging like Don Quixote at windmills.”
There was no doubt that the foolish act of Sergius to lead the charge against the Bulgarians was a stupid act like that of Don Quixote. Because Don Quixote once fought with a windmill thought it as a giant. He thought it was his duty to fight with the giant. This thinking came to his mind because he believed himself to be a primitive knight, a brave and strong fighter. As like Don Quixote, Sergius act in the battlefield like such a stupid fellow.
More Notes of Arms and the Man
Bluntschli, the chocolate soldier, addressed Sergius as a fool one because of his foolish and suicidal attack. Though he won the battle but it was accidental because of the insufficiency of ammunition of the Serbians. In spite of this victory, Sergius was mercilessly criticized by his senior officer as it was a non-military approach.