Arms and the Man

How does Bluntschli act as mouthpiece for Shaw,the iconoclast?

Arms and the man

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Captain Bluntschli brings all the characters of the play together. He is a shrewd judge of character and easily understands Raina, Sergius, Major Petkoff and Catherine. Shaw uses Bluntschlis character to bring out his views about war and love. Bluntchli explains that he is a professional soldier but he is "glad to get out of it." He informs Raina how Sergius's cavalry charge was a act of suicide. It was like "Don Quixote attacking at the windmills." He won the war only because the Serbians were provided with the wrong ammunitions.

He understands that Raina and Sergius are not in love rather, there is not even physical attraction between them. "He kisses her forehead" instead of her lip and in her absence flirts with Louka, the maidservant of the Petkoff family. Sergius shows more attraction towards Louka than towards Raina. Bluntschli makes them realise that their "higher love" does not exist.

Shaw through Bluntschli has shown how Major Petkoff was made a major because of his social status and not his military abilities. Bulgarians "make canons out of cherry trees and send their wives to keep discipline."

Bluntschli is extremely witty. He knows about Catherines pretentious nature and being smart does not put up a bet againt Major Petkoff. He knows Catherine must have put the coat in the blue closet and Nicola actually revives it from there when asked to bring it to the Major.

G.B. Shaw has also bought out social snobbery. When Blunstchli meets Raina after the war, for the first time, while covered in "mud and blood and snow," Raina flaunts the library in her house, "which in reality is not much of a library," and the stairs inside her house. Bluntschli being a "free citizen" and having an immense amount of wealth does not talk about it until the end when he had to prove to the Petkoffs that he will be able to take care of Raina if they get married. He is extremely happy on hearing that Sergius and Louka plan to get married and congratulates Louka unlike Catherine who is shocked on hearing this news and is unable to believe it.

The themes of war, love and social snobbery have been ridiculed and satirized by Shaw.

Bluntschli is the main character in the play and is shaw's speaker. Bluntschli gives deep irony to the thoughts of Raina and Sergius. In the first act he is seen as breaking the idealism for war and romance in Raina again and again. His practical approach is a weapon used by shaw to show that the reality of the truth can be much more harsh than idealism. In the first act he is ready to cry frightened ready to cry and almost in the mouth of death.He even threatens Raina and says that it's a solider's duty to live as long as he can. Contrary to Raina,s thoughts he says that all the solider's are afraid to die. He also says that he is a mercenary who fights for money rather than pratrorism shows that most of the solider's are only mercenarys. Shaw uses blunts hi to break the idealism and romance in war and show how horrible war is rather than showing a traditional hero