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Michael Robartes and The Dancer

Irreverent Criticism of John Keats

William Shakespeare

The Deepest Ever Written Book

The Merchant of Venice

Dramatis Personae

Arms and The Man

Pride and Prejudice

Matthew Arnold as an Elegiac Poet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arms and The Man

"You’ll find yourself laughing out loud at a 115-year-old play that feels like a piece of contemporary humor" (Rick Pender).

Arms and the man by the Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw is one of the most thought provoking plays. It is a play with an impressive moral lesson about Love and War. Shaw affirmed that for the sake of ‘Art for art’s sake’ he won’t write a single line. But to criticize Sjhaw as a propagandist would be an error of perspective.

I am sure if we follow the advice of Bluntschli, the mouthpiece of Shaw in the play, we would stop glorifying the war. Bluntschli is a ‘chocolate cream soldier’. Whenever he goes to the battlefield, he prefers to use chocolate instead of cartridges. Shaw is indirectly suggesting that food is more importan war.

A.C. Ward is quite right that Arms and the Man makes us laugh, and makes us think. The play satirizes our romantic attitude toward love and war. This is fully substantiated by the following famous lines by Bluntschli where he criticizes the romantic attitude toward war:

"Soldiering, my dear madam, is the coward's art of attacking mercilessly when you are strong, and keeping out of harm's way when you are weak. That is the whole secret of successful fighting. Get your enemy at a disadvantage; and never, on any account, fight him on equal terms."

Shaw is condemning the war through Bluntschli. Food and preservation of life is more important than romantic glorification of war. Shaw criticizes Sergius who in the battlefield behaves like Don Quixote. Bluntschli aptly says:"I've no ammunition. What use are cartridges in battle? I always carry chocolate instead; and I finished the last cake of that yesterday."

On the contrary, Sergius is stupid in his romantic attitude toward war:

"...And I hadn't even a revolver cartridge--nothing but chocolate. We'd no bayonets--nothing. Of course, they just cut us to bits. And there was Don Quixote flourishing like a drum major, thinking he'd done the cleverest thing ever known, whereas he ought to be courtmartialled for it. Of all the fools ever let loose on a field of battle, that man must be the very maddest. He and his regiment simply committed suicide--only the pistol missed fire, that's all."

The play is highly enriched by Shavian wit and humor. Shaw himself said about his play: “one joke after another…a firecracker”.



Santosh Kumar, Editor, Cyberwit.net