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MonkeyNotes-Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

Prince Alexander I, the Regent of Bulgaria, led the Bulgarian army against the Serbs who had declared war in November 1885. The Bulgarian army was helped by the Russians whereas the Serbs were led by Austrians. The Swiss supplied a large number of mercenaries and Captain Bluntschli is one such soldier fighting on the Serbian side. Such mercenaries had no feelings. At a crucial point Russia called back her officers and Bulgaria was left to fend for herself. In spite of such mishaps the Bulgarians were victorious in the Battle of Slivnitza in November 1885.


The title of the play "Arms and the Man" comes from the opening lines of "The Aeneid", Virgil's epic-poem describing the adventures of Aeneas, the Trojan Prince. Shaw calls it an "Anti- Romantic Comedy". The term romantic, according to Shaw, meant untruth. Romance refers to a kind of fiction, which did not concern itself with real life; it gave greater importance to idealization. The same trend was followed by drama. Scribe and Sardon in Paris wrote well -made plays which had well- constructed plots with several well-known devices. Audiences were used to such drama, therefore, when Ibsen's plays "The Doll's House" and "Ghosts" were performed, people were shocked. Shaw was inspired by Ibsen who tackled real issues and made people think.

Like Ibsen, he tackled real issues that Englishmen were made to think about.

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