ARMS AND THE MAN

Hareshwar 


Shaw is a very great dramatist of England. His 'Arms and the Man' is a pleasant play. It is both amusing and thought provoking. It makes us laugh and it makes us think. Its title is suitable. It conveys the main theme of the play. The plot of the play deals with arms and war. Moreover, the romantic illusions of love and war are shattered here through discussion and action.
          In this play Shaw shows that the man is always greater than the machine. The title of this play justifies this idea. Thus it is highly appropriate. This title is taken from Dryden's translation of Virgil's Aeneid. Aeneid is an epic in which arms and war are glorified. But Shaw has reversed this order in his play. According to him man should not fight war to gain glory and humour. Man should try to live; soldiers should try to save their lives.


          In fact, 'Arms and the Man' is a drama of ideas. Its plot revolves round war. It deals with men and their arms. Act I constitutes the Exposition of the play. The two main themes of the play are also introduced. The beginning of the play shows the confrontation of Bluntschli and Raina. This is the confrontation of romantic and the realistic attitudes towards war. Act III works as the denouement. It has happy ending. In short, this play is well structured.


          Shaw is a great realist. He advocated the domination of reason over emotions. This play is thus an anti-romantic play. It opens with romantic note. Raina, the heroine of the play, is standing at the window and dreaming of her lover Sergius. Accidentally Bluntschli comes in contact with her. He is free from romantic illusions about war. He cleanses Raina's illusions about war and heroism.
          In Act II Shaw has exposed the romantic notions of love and marriage. The love of Raina and Sergius has not any solid ground of reality. It dies as soon as Louka and Bluntschli interpose. Thus romantic ideas of war and love are nothing but delusions. Hence this play is an anti-romantic play.
          To conclude, 'Arms and the Man' is a well-structured play. Its title is appropriate. Here the romantic illusion of war and love are shattered.


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