Arms and the Man Questions and Answers
1. Why is Arms and the Man called anti romantic comedy?
Ans. Bernard Shaw opines that romanticism is nothing but the fake opening out of the fantasy, that is dormant in the minds of human beings. In Arms and the Man, Show has denounced and demolished this romantic illusion and the sentimental feeling that gathered around love and war when Raina Succumbs at last to the man she calls her ‘Chocolate Cream Soldier’. Bluntschli has cured her of the second of the two deceptions which ruled her life when the play began. She no longer thinks of war as a romantic game, nor does she any longer think of marriage as the mating of a beautiful heroine and a handsome hero in a lifelong romantic dream. Instead of the ornamental and fickle Sergius, She takes as her husband the plain Bluntschli. It is in this contextual view, Arms and the Man is called anti romantic comedy.
2. “What are the two main themes of Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man’?
Ans. The play, Arms and the Man has two themes. One is war, the other is marriage. These themes are interwoven, for Shaw believed that while war is evil and stupid and marriage desirable and good, both had become wrapped in romantic illusions which led to disastrous wars and also to unhappy marriages.
3. What is a romantic girl’s romantic view of life in ‘Arms and the Man’?
Ans. In Arms and the Man Raina Petkoff intends, at the time the play opens, to become the wife of Major Sergius Saranoff, who is then away fighting the Serbs. News has come home to Raina and her mother that Sergius has ridden bravely at the head of a victorious Cavalry Charge, and Raina rejoices because she can now believe that her betrothed is just as splendid and noble as he looks ! that the world is really a glorious world for women who can see its glory and men who can act its romance”. In the opening scene of the play, after adoring Sergius’ portrait, Raina goes to bed murmuring, ‘My hero! My hero! This is a romantic girl’s romantic view of life.
4. What is ‘The romantic view of war’ and how is it revealed in Arms and the Man’?
Ans. A stern realist, Shaw exploded the myth of romantic love and all romantic ideas in the cloth of war. To him, romantic view of war is that men fight because they are heroes, and that the soldier who takes biggest risks wins the greatest glory and is the greatest hero. Raina, the romantic girl imagines to become the wife of the ornamental Major Sergius for he had ridden bravely at the head of a victorious Cavalry charge. Raina rejoices for his splendid bravery like the greatest hero and even murmurs ‘My hero! My hero! while adoring Sergius portrait.
5. “The man is not a conventional stage soldier”-What does this line reveal in the shavian play ‘Arms and the Man’?
Ans. It is a notion that conventional soldier will remain unfed and sleepless and also is unable to rejoice. Bluntschli is not a different. His nerves are going to be crumbled after being three days under fire and in horrors of pursuit. His bitter experience makes him believe that he is more in need of a few bits of chocolate to cherish in the front than cartridges for his revolver.
6. Does the realities of war make Sergius educated ?
Ans. Sergius witnessed the horror and terror, brutality and blood thirst and death and destruction in the war. He got disillusioned about war and soldiers. He came to the realization that it was hypocrisy to say that war gave an opportunity to exhibit one’s patriotism, heroism and glory, rather it was ridiculous and horrible,
7. Write a brief note on Byron (Act 1).
Ans. The Romantic Paradox, Lord Byron (1788-1824) is an eminent English poet. He looks down upon man’s hypocrisy and oppression to man. These cruelties of society make him antagonistic to the on-going traditions and statesmanship. His writings are steeped in love and satire. His greatest work Don Juan exposes romantic adventures and satires in life. This great poet died in Greece with the intention of fighting in the cause of independence. Moreover, many in Britain were infatuated by Byronism i.e. his ideas, attitude and manners.
8. Write a note on Pushkin (Act I).
Ans. Alexanders. Pushkin (1799-1837) was the greatest of Russian poets. He was not only influenced by French but also by English literature specially by Shakespeare and Byron.
9. ‘And there was Don Quixote flourishing like a drum major thinking he’d do to the cleverest thing ever know’ -Who is compared to Don Quixote and why?
Ans. Don Quixote is the hero of the Spanish novelist, Cervantes romance Don Quixote in the 16th Century. The Hero is so overcome by romantic illusions that he imagines he is fighting an enemy when he is only attacking the sails of a windmill.
In Arms and the Man Sergius is compared to Don Quixote. Bluntschli, the mouthpiece of Shaw makes this comparison for Sergius leads a Cavalry Charge against a battery of machine guns like Don Quixote.
10. What did Raina want to say Bluntschli by mentioning ‘Ernani?
Ans. Italian Composer, Gileseppi Verdi (1831-1901) Set up an opera called ‘Ernani ‘by mentioning this Raina wants to impress the fact on Bluntschli that her family was a highly aristocratic with a cultural heritage. She also makes it clear by referring the fact that once Ernani chased by the enemy he took refuge in the castle of his enemy who did not handed him over to the old Castilian Noble because his guest was a bliss to him. Like Ernani, Bluntschli could depend on Petkoff’s aristocracy on hospitality
11. Who is Childe Harold?
Ans. Byron composed a long poem called Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812). In it the hero Childe Harold is described as a traveller a romantic youth who traverses several European countries and comes in contact with historical persons and event. He is very grand and terrible, and sinister with the stain of a dark and awful past.
12. Write a note on Cossacks.
Ans. The Cossacks were a Turkish tribe who came under Russian rule and were famous as fast-riding Cavalry.
13. “The world is really a glorious world for women.” Explain.
Ans. The romantic heroine, Raina remarks this. Raina’s mother, Catherine informs Raina that Major Sergius, her fiance, has ridden bravely at the head of a Victorious Cavalry Charge. Having heard this Raina remarks this in rejoice.
14. “It was the cradle and grave of my reputation.”-What does the remark imply? What was the effect of Sergius winning the battle in the wrong way?
Ans. Sergius has ridden bravely at the head of a victorious Cavalry Charge. Yet he is not considered enough for a higher rank by his superiors. So, as a form of protest against this injustice, Sergius has submitted his resignation letter. Though Cavalry Charge bestowd on him some reputation as a winner, he makes him believe in putting an end to his profession as a warrior. This is revealed in this speech of Sergius.
15, “Like a knight in a tournament……. – What does the phrase “a knight in a fournament imply?
Ans. In Act II Sergius remarks this to Raina. In Europe in the Middle ages noblemen in armour fought in single combat before a seated audience which often include the ladies to whom the knights were devoted. The work knight then suggested both soldier and servant of love. Sergius, by this, highlights his anchoring in war.
16. “Of all the fool ever let loose on a field to battle.” Who made this to whom and about whom?
Ans. Bluntschli made his remarks to Raina about Sergius in Act 1 Sergius’ heroism is eulogized and side by side scorned of for Bluntschli, the Shavian mouthpiece bears grudge against the romantic notion of war which Raina embosses in her imagination.
17. Briefly sketch Raina’s character as you find in ‘The Arms and the Man’ (Act I).
Ans. Raina in Act I is a girl of romanticism and sentimentalism. Her mind is full of idealistic fantasies. Her mind is engrossed with the idealistic notion of love and heroism. She takes pride in the cultural heritage of her family in Bulgeria. She keeps herself busy going through the books of romance. The sordid realities of life does not startle her. •
18. Comment on the presentation of Louka’s role in Arms and the Man’?
Ans. Shavian view on love is exposed in the role of Louka. She is a girl of calculation and ambition. Shaw sketches her as a foil to the romantic heroine Raina and the female stimulation of Bluntschli with a purpose of presenting ‘higher love’ and a love affair between opposite sex in reality. Her role also reflects that love is only a sex war between man and woman based upon the biological necessity for procreation and there is nothing romanticism in it.
19. What is Louka’s estimate of Nicola ? In what respects do they differ?
Ans. Louka, an epitom of Shavian view on love looks down upon Nicola for his clinging to the spirit of servitude. His desire is to be loyal to the family for which he is always ready to accept any defame. But Louka is of calculation and ambition with a rebellious spirit for independence. She is impudent and does not bother the superiority of Raina to her.
20. Comment on the source of the title of Arms and the Man!
Ans. Shaw took the cue from Dryden’s translation of the opening lines of the Roman poet. Virgil’s Aeneid. The phrase used by the Roman epic poet is Arma Virumque means ‘Arms and the Man I sing’. Virgil eulogizes the heroism of soldiers. Shaw’s intention of using the phrase as title is to criticize on the heroism and the romantic attitude to war in Virgil. There is nothing romanticism in as in the case of a soldier (Bluntschli) who is more interested in Chocolate Cream than Cartridges in reality.
21. What does Raina want to convey expressing her fondness of reading ‘Byron and Puskin’?
Ans. Raina is a girl of romanticism. She looks at the life and society through prism of romanticism. She openly tells her mother, Catherine that Sergius and her ideas have been coloured because that they have read the works of Puskin and Byron whose works are vibrant with romanticism and adventurism.
22. What does Raina do with the portrait of Sergius?
Ans. Sergius is Raina’s finance. So, she adores her future husband’s portrait as votary of love. She looks at the portrait and murmurs ‘My hero! My hero!’ as if her soul’s hero. She even shows it to Bluntschli who took refuge in her room. Bluntschli. arouses her adoration by comparing Sergius to Don Quixote and she naturally kisses it being enamoured.
23. What does Bluntschli want to mean by saying “A narrow save; but a miss is as a mile’?
Ans. In Act I the fugitive Bluntschli comes out from behind the curtain just when the Russian soldier in Bulgarian uniform leaves Raina’s bed room. Then Bluntschli remarks this. Bluntschli expresses his narrow escape from certain death as the enemy officer missed him narrowly. But to Bluntschli a miss is a miss if it is by hair’s breath or by mile. This exposes his greater relief from danger.
24. What did Bluntschli say about the old and new soldiers?
Ans. Bluntschli opines that the young soldiers always carry Cartridges while the old food stuff. He realistically says that the old soldiers are weather beaten and execute their acts from their heaps of knowledge and foreboding, but the new ones always act foolishly feeling an urge to be unwary. As a Shavian mouthpiece Bluntschli focuses that weapons are nothing compared to food for hungry one can never fight in the front.
25. “I’ll save you.” How does Raina save the fugitive, Bluntschli?
Ans. The Russian officer in Bulgarian uniform anters into Raina’s bedroom in search of the fugitive, Bluntschli. Bluntschli prepares for a fight before being killed finding no other way of escape. But Raina with her impulse drags him towards the window and draws the curtain before him. She then appears before the officer drowsily. The Russian officer makes a fervent approach and proposes for a search but Raina denies that there is no Serb there. Not only this but also she makes him believe by covering the curtain with her back. The Russian officer makes no attempt of searching and leaves keeping Bluntschli in the safe custody of Raina. Raina does not stop here. She enables him on the following morning to escape by offering her father’s old coat so that no one could recognize him.
26. “I am a Petkoff.” How does Raina introduce the Petkoff to Bluntschli?
Ans. The Petkoffs are remarkable for their hospitality. They are the richest family in Bulgaria.Raina says that her father holds the highest command among the Bulgarians in the army. They have the only library in Bulgaria. They also often visit the opera in Bucharest and also visit and stay in Vienna. In a nutshell, the Petkoffs are the most aristocratic in Bulgaria.
27. What is Sergius opinion about Soldering and the secret of successful fighting?
Ans. Sergius too has learned something of the realities of war and is so disgusted by them that he has sent in his resignation, saying “Soldiering…. is the coward’s art of attacking mercilessly when you are strong, and keeping out of harm’s way when you are weak’. This is the secret revealed by Sergius. Moreover, war is a game of advantage. One should get one’s enemy at a disadvantage and fight the enemy on equal terms or to the enemy’s advantage.
28. How had Bluntschli ‘humbugged” Major Petkoff and Sergius?
Ans. Bluntschli who took refuge in Raina’s bedroom humbugged Major Petkoff and Sergius by a negotiation with the exchange of two hundred worn-out horses for only fifty able-bodied soldiers Bluntschli befooled them as they found that the horses were useless in reality.
29. ‘Ah, he was a soldier, every inch a soldier’ Explain.
Ans. Sergius remarks this about Bluntschli, a Swiss professional soldier in the Serbian army. Bluntschli’s practicality, Shrewdness and devoid of romantic idealism about war provoke Sergius to remark this. Bluntschli has the commercial background which enables him to be successful by cheating Bulgarians in exchanges of two hundred horses for fifty soldiers who are in prison. According to the military rule books this kind of pettiness is needed to a soldier to be successful. Sergius’s Sarcasm has been revealed in this above remark.
30. “To escape their Sabres he climbed a waterpipe……..” -How did Sergius narrate the story of Bluntschli’s escape?
Ans. Sergius tinges Bluntschli escaping with the colour of romance. He narrates that Bluntschli runs away like all other Serbs in the same battery that was charged by Sergius. Finding no other alternative way, the Swiss officer climbed a waterpipe and timely enters into the bedroom of Raina who is the daughter of the highest commander in Bulgarian army opposite to Serbs. Raina is enamoured by Bluntschli’s manner that even she protects the honour of her guest from the Russian officer. She calls her mother Catherine Petkoff who is also equally fascinated by his manners. Bluntschli disguises himself for the whole night and in the morning Raina offers her father’s old coat to go away in disguise so that no one can recognize him.
Q.31. What is ‘higher love’ according to Raina ? How does Sergius reciprocate Raina’s ‘higher love’?
Ans. “Higher love’ is the romanticized and idealized love. It exists in the land of fancy and dreamland. It is free from physical love. It is the meeting point of two minds not of bodies. Raina and Sergius are the apostles of higher love. Raina’s inspiration makes him moving and he has gone through the war ‘like a knight in a tournament with his lady looking down at him’. Moreover, Sergius reciprocates her higher love by uttering that all his deeds have been hers.
32. Why did Sergius feel attracted towards Louka?
Ans. Sergius went to the battlefield bearing i his heart a cherished vision about love and war. His illusions were broken. He became disgusted with the wars and soldiers. He even Iso wearied of ‘higher love’ of Raina. So, as soon as he glanced a: Louka his pent up soul felt an attraction for Louka who was seductive, pragmatic and witty. Her physical charm pervaded the romantic charm of Raina and made Sergius to be infatuated.
33. “From Raina, to her Chocolate Cream Soldier a souveneir? “-Who is Chocolate Cream Soldier? Why is he so called?
Ans. Bluntschli is nicknamed as “Chocolate Cream Soldier’ by Raina Petkoff.
Bluntschli on all of a sudden became a midnight intruder into Raina bed room. He was then very much wearied and hungry. She give him some chocolate. To her, he appeared not a real soldier, but a mere Chocolate Cream Soldier : he needed to be mothered like a child: Bhuntschli sheer predicament aroused Raina’s maternal instinct and she allowed him even to have a sleep in her room.
34. “Welcome our friend!”-What does this line reveal?
Ans. Sergius makes this remark to Bluntschli in Act II. After recognizing Bluntschli in Raina’s bed room, Sergius welcomes him heartily. Though Bluntscli is an enemy to the Bulgarians as he is a Swiss professional soldier serving to the Serbian army opposite to Bulgarian’s, he is no longer enemy for the war is over but a friend. Thus, Sergius makes this comment.
35. Why does the Swiss say that Bulgarian “officers send for their wives to keep discipline”?
Ans. Bluntschi urges Petkoff to see whether Sergius talks to the escort properly, Major Petkoff goes to the door but hesitating, returns and asks his wife to go with him as certainly the escorts will be more frightened of Catherine than of Major Petkoff himself. Observing Petkoff’s hesitating movement, Bluntschli remarks that Bulgarian officer send for their wives to keep discipline.
Q.36. What is the significance of the story of ‘Ice-pudding’?
Ans. Raina addressed Bluntschli as Chocolate Cream Soldier’. Petkoff and Sergius were greatly surpris.d at this. In order to wipe out that puzzle some situation Rain” invented a story about how Nicola put plates, on ice-pudding ir de by her. That witty invention gave Bluntschli relief from embarrassment. Yet Petkoff was greatly amazed having found that she had been cooped up in kitchen making a room for Nicola, to idle away her time. Nicola, true to his duty, confessed his fault and was about to be forcibly dismissed. He was saved by the interference of Raina and her mother, Catherine.
37. “I brook no rivals.”-Why did Sergius challange Bluntschli to a duel?
Ans. Sergius came to learn from Louka that Raina, his beloved was fallen in love with Bluntschli. For this Bluntschli became his rival and for that rivalry he challenged Bluntseli to a due at six o’clock in the drilling ground on the Klissoura Road. Sergius intimated that he would be on horseback with his sword.
38. “I refuse to fight you.”-Why did Sergius refuse to fight?
Ans. While the due was going to happen, Raina came in and was greatly surprised at this. But Bluntscli made her believe that no harm would be done either. Then Sergius accused him of making love with Raina behind him. Bluntschli readily denied it and it was in this connection Sergius’ love affair with Louka revealed. Sergius refused to take part in the due on the ground that Bluntschli was too cold to be a man of flesh and blood.
39. Why does Louka say she is not ashamed of eavesdropping?
Ans. Sergius’ flat heroism arouses a burning love for Louka. She eyes on everything. She is cavesdropping the conversation that is going on among Raina, Sergius and Bhentschli. She is caught red-handed by Sergius who drags her in and provokes Bluntschli to judge her. Bluntschli also reveals a truth that he will not judge because Sergius too has once been eavesdropping outside a tent when there a mutiny brewing. Though Louka’s life and love are at take, she does not get ashamed of eavesdropping for a burning love for Sergius.
40. Comment on the role of Raina’s photograph.
Ans. With the inscription ‘Raina, to her Chocolate Cream Soldier, a Souvenir’, Raina put her photograph in the pocket of her father’s coat and offered the coat to Bluntschli for his disguise and safe journey. But when the coat is brought before the Petkoff, Raina skillfully handled the situation by helping her father to put on it to take away her portrait. She placed it before Bluntschli who cleverly covered it with paper before the eyes of Sergius. This hide and seek exposed Raina’s love for Bluntschli without scant impression whether Bluntschli was married.
Q.41. What made Sergius to think that world is not an innocent place?
Ans. Having observed the game of hide and seek with Raina’s photograph, Sergius came to the realization how the romance of “higher love’ could easily be shattered at the hard touch of reality. He came to know how his celestial Raina fell in love with the Swiss behind his back. So, to him the world was no longer a place of innocence.
Q.42. What a man / Is he as man!”-What is the significance of this estimate by the speaker?
Ans. This is the concluding line of Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Bluntschli, the Shavian mouthpiece is the man’ summed up by Sergius. Bluntschli mocks the foolish idealistic romanticism about war and love. Shaw combines, in him practicality, humour, unorthodoxy and self-awareness. Through him Shaw criticizes all aspects of human life and romantic and sentimental follies to promote self-esteem and self-knowledge among individual and within the society. Above all Bhuntschli is the representative of Shavian concept of Superman.
43. In what sense Bluntschli is ‘incurably romantic’?
Ans. Blutschli estimates himself as a true vagabond. He was a boy of impudence and ran away from home twice. Instead of looking after his father’s business, he joined army and taking shelter in a nearest cellar, he climbed the balcony of a house. Instead of sending the coat by a messenger he himself came to Petkoff’s house to having a glimpse at Raina. So, Bluntschli sums up that though he is a man of practicality, he always puts on a musk of romanticism.
44. How did Louka realize that a man was hiding in Raina’s bedroom?
Ans. Louka entered Raina’s bedroom to intimate about a Serb fugitive having climbed the waterpipe to her Balconi. Then she discovered the revolver lying on the ottoman. She gazed at it and almost petrified. It made her guess that climbing man was certainly hiding in Raina’s room.’
45. “I am steel a simple major.”-Why was not Sergius promoted ? How scientific was Sergius’s win?
Ans. Sergius, though has ridden bravely at the head of a victorious cavalry charge, was not promoted because his fighting was unscientific and he won in the wrong way. He led cavalry against artillery. That was most unscientific. He had to fight with swords on horseback against field guns. He won because the enemy was supplied with wrong ammunitions and could not fire a single round. The enemy naturally ran away instead of making fence resistance.
Q.46. “Arms and the Man’ is an education of Raina.”-Why?
Ans. Raina came in close contact with Bluntschli. Who was a pragmatist. Raina realized the difference between appearance and reality. She gradually snatched away her mood of romanticism and entered into the world of reality with life and laughter. This is why it is said.
47. “You have the soul of a servant.”-What does the speaker Frean to say?
Ans. Louka, the maid servant in Petkoffs, made this caustic remark about Nicola, Nicola longed for to tie the nuptial knot with Louka. But Nicola had Servile mentality that made her wrathful.
48. “This is a better weapon than a revolver.”-Explain.
Ans. Bluntschli makes this remark. He plainly exposes the reality that Raina’s cloak is a better weapon than a revolver because without it, she would not be able to dress herself properly to prevent Bulgarian soldiers to enter in her room. With it she saves his life quiet in a safe and will be safe as long as she has her cloak with him.
49. What is the dramatic interest of Act I of the play “Arms and the Man’?
Ans. Act I in Shaw’s Arms and the Man constitutes the exposition of the play. The play’s main themes i.e. sarcasm on glorification of war, and romantic love have been introduced in this Act. T..e play’s all principal personage romantic girl Raina, pragmatic Bluntschli, witty Louka and Servile Nicola have been introduced, and even with the introduction of Sergius.
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