Arms and the Man
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Arms and the Man

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  4,682 ratings  ·  156 reviews
"In this perennially popular anti-romantic comedy, a fugitive enemy soldier bursts into the bedroom of a starry-eyed young woman; the then proceeds to disabuse her and those around her of the bogus romanticised ideals they have constructed around love, war, and social status." This edition includes Bernard Shaw's definitive text and provides the most comprehensive scholarl...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published June 30th 1950 by Penguin Books (first published 1894)
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Lina AL Ojaili
للمسرحية فكرتين رئيسيتين : الحرب و الزواج
Prof. Mohamed  Shareef
Teaching Bernard Shaw

Paper presented at Kerala University, Trivandrum
March 1999

Teaching the plays of George Bernard Shaw to the undergraduate students of
Kerala state, India is not an easy task. Taking into consideration the poor
exposure to English literature that the students have got during the twelve
years of their schooling, any piece of literature poses a serious challenge
before the teacher.
The undergraduate students of Kerala are not very well exposed to English
literature. In the high s...more
I have yet to read anything by Shaw that I didn't like and this play was no exception. There were several parts of this play that had me laughing out loud. One of my favourites is when Raina is trying to show Bluntschli that she is not an ignorant country girl, but a civilized person:

Raina: You shewed great ignorance in thinking that it was necessary to climb up the balcony...There is a flight of stairs inside to get up and down by.
The Man (Bluntschli): Stairs! How grand! You live in great luxur...more
Joy H.
Jan 29, 2014 Joy H. marked it as watched-film-only  ·  review of another edition
Added 6/16/13.

I watched "Arms and the Man" via a Netflix DVD (1987). It stars Helena Bonham Carter.

I did not read the original a play (a comedy) by George Bernard Shaw:
Arms and the Man (1894).
The story takes place during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War."

Bonham's character hides a soldier in her "chambers" and the story goes on from there. It's a bit wordy and melodramatic but I suppos...more
Sierra Abrams
In the opening scene of Arms and the Man, which establishes the play’s embattled Balkan setting, young Raina learns of her suitor’s heroic exploits in combat. She rhapsodizes that it is “a glorious world for women who can see its glory and men who can act its romance!” Soon, however, such romantic falsifications of love and warfare are brilliantly and at times hilariously unmasked in a comedy that reveals George Bernard Shaw at his best as an acute social observer and witty provocateur.

– From th...more
Melissa Rudder
The best compliment that I can give George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man is that, when I assigned it at the beginning of May, most of my Honors British Literature class read it. I suppose you can only really understand the weight of that compliment if you have attempted to teach high school seniors a few weeks before graduation. (They generally don't have the attention span to finish writing "Don't ever change" in their friends' yearbooks.) But Shaw's play somehow got and kept their attention....more
Oh yes... now the Nobel prize seems adequate.

It is awesome to see how Shaw has honed his skill considerably (both "Widower's Houses" and "Mrs. Warren's Profession", written a few years before this one, are slightly more pedantic and the characters are less likeable, albeit, antiromantic/real). "Arms and the Man" is finally where we see the full roundedness of all the immoral characters--though this one finally has a man who is less interested in war than surviving it--who is dashing and brave......more
This is one of my favorite plays. I had the good fortune to see a pretty well done production at university, so I already knew the plot and language of the play. This is a superb comedy, right up there with The Importance of Being Earnest, among the best plays of the late Victorian period. This period seems to be (at least to me) the era when dry British humor really came to dominate English comedy and mark it as a distinct and recognizable genre, and Shaw's play definitely maes use of that kind...more
Do you question the value of war? How do you view heroes? Do you believe a man in uniform is smarter, braver, and more manly than the one who isn't in uniform? Read how Shaw portrays wars, heroes, and the man in uniform. I found this satirical comedy by Shaw to be hilarious. Others might not. I can't wait to see it performed!
Silly and predictable. Of course English teachers everywhere try to read too much into it.
Eh. I liked Bluntschli. But not Raina. She was silly. And Catherine was the best because I read her voice in a very goofy British accent despite the fact that they're all Bulgarian (except, of course, Bluntschli.)

This can still be a fun, charming little story, but with a much deeper meaning. Shaw's intentions were to mock the English with a subtle unveiling of truths behind war and class warfare. This seems a bit far-fetched, sure, but if you keep in mind who the playwright was and what he stood for while reading it, I'm sure you'll find it more than a "light" read. Shaw was nearly masking his true agenda and was booed in English theaters once it was realized. Which, personally for me -- my rebellious t...more
Uthup George
The plays have a special effect on the readers. We imagine them as plays while we read understanding the dialogues the feelings the expressions. it is as if we are acting all the acts and our heart goes along with the play.
And i should assure everyone this play of GB Shaw is a remarkable one, with adventure, beautiful turn of events and above all the sweetness of an English romance. I am not good in rating a play, but i can't give anything less than the best to this.
Thank you, GB Shaw and to my...more
Coming right off the heels of reading Shaw's "Major Barbara", I found his "Arms and the Man" to be slightly dissatisfying. The characters, although charismatic and amusing, were difficult to relate with and I found myself wondering why they behaved in such a manner. I tried to read this play with the same mind as reading Oscar Wilde, allowing a wide berth for sarcasm and satire, but I found this difficult to do, realizing at the close of Act III (the plays final scene) that I didn't care for any...more
Delightfully British in that it's wittily xenophobic, but this is not Shaw's best work, nor his best characters. With stellar performers depth can be added but the roles read haltingly, to ostiff to develop any real sense of the human condition. Shaw deals with the question of nobility and heroism and the honor of common sense admirably, but after seeing his other work, it does not quite measure up.
The first time I have read this light-hearted look at the return of soliders from war by one of my favoriate authors - Shaw.

The language is typically wonderful. The female characters are well fleshed out and multi-dementional - as we have all become to expect from Shaw.

Current soliders to not have the benefit of returning home to such romantic farce and ease of adaption.
Haythem Bastawy
An excellent play by Shaw! The fecundity of war and the hypocrisy and pretentiousness of society have been ridiculed by such a simple and clever plot. The Swiss chocolate cream soldier, captain Blanchly, is a most intriguing character, in my opinion one of the most memorable in modern theatre.
Rob Roy
What a great play. While it makes fun of the military, the chocolate-cream soldier is one I would follow into battle. If you enjoy snooty people getting their due, and love winning out, enjoy. The satire is as pointed today as it was in the 1890s.
I remember reading this book in Grade 6 and being delighted by the narrative. Of course, back then I didn't really appreciate the writing nor gained much from the experience, but I hope to correct that and re-read this book soon.
Funny and short, better if read aloud. From the opening scene where a Swiss soldier hides out in Raina's room to the final scene in which the fiances are switched around, this play is full of laughs.
Mark Woodland
This is an extremely funny play, and a satire on the attitudes of people towards war in general. Still quite relevant, and has a collection of wonderful characters.
This work is part of the Plays Pleasant of George Bernard Shaw.

When the Bulgarians, through the help of the Russians, win the war against Serbians, a Swiss professional soldier fighting for the Serbians eludes arrest by hiding in the room of a girl. The girl is the girlfriend of the Bulgarian war hero and the daughter of a Bulgarian military official. Instead of revealing the soldier to the Russians, she even conspires to save him. The following morning, with the help of her mother, she lends h...more
Awesome read! Bernard Shaw calls it an 'antiromantic comedy' and the book lives up even after generations have read it!
I love to read this book again and again. I love the hero in this book very much.
Sarah El-aasser
This drama was discussing several points; one of them is the romantic heroics of war; he wanted to present a realistic account of war. It is not, however, an anti-war play; instead, it is a satire on those attitudes which would glorify war.Another point is Idealism; he shows that there is no such thing as a perfect human being by making the idealistic characters, Riana and Serguis, make mistakes such as lying and cheating, and they also confess that the way they act in front of each other is onl...more
Zerin Hasan
Despite of my unlikeness of Sergius and Louka's damn relation, I wanna give it 5 stars as I love The Chocolate-Cream Soldier..~



After the revelation of Louka and Sergius's secret affair, I've not liked them tinyy much... peoples may stand with them for their other characteristics but am not gonna buy any shit...:/ Raina was a dreamy,romantic girl and sometimes i found myself in her part... and our Captain Bluntschli.. :D ;) the way he thinks.. the way he analysis things .. his attitude...more

Shaw's ARMS AND THE MAN (original production in 1894) continues to entertain audiences a century later. Considered one of his "Pleasant" plays by the author (one might say, Comedies) this amusing parody on War and Love is set in distant Bulgaria in the 1880's. Throughout the piece we witness curious interpersonal relations between the daughter of the household and her handsome officer and a gentleman fiancé. But the small cast engages in almost farcic...more

Running an eye down the reviews on this page, I can see at a glance that the many merits Arms and the Man have been saluted - the comedy and wit, the stagecraft, the attack on the folly of idealism (esp. in love and war). No need for me to add to the chorus of praise, but I do register my disappointment that GBS has presented his critique of idealism at the expense of the Bulgarians, making no attempt to present the their moment in history (emerging as a nation from centuries of Turkish rule)....more
Madhubrata Bhattacharya
This was read propped up on my knee during boring class lectures.For our batch,it is the alternative to Shakespeare(which my school chose),so I was expecting something more intricate and highbrow.It turned out to be very different.Predictable,yes,but innovative for its time...and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Scott Lee
This was my first exposure to Shaw, years and years ago, and i have to admit I only know bits and pieces outside of it. This is a fantastic comedy, one with bite and whip sharp satire. As an actor I think that all of the roles are to die for, even the old man Louka has enough complexity and depth to make him interesting to play.

I am directing this one right now, and on the second day of rehearsals. We have relatively short rehearsal time so today was Read Through day 2. Tomorrow we begin blocki...more
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George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but...more
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