Critical Overview of the Character of Catherine Petkoff in Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw



With the delineation of the character of Catherine, Shaw has played upon the sentimentality of womanish thinking and their approach to life which is, at times, so opposed to demands of reality. Petkoff is the mother of Raina and the wife of major Petkoff. She is

"a woman over forty, imperiously energetic, with magnificent black hair and eyes, who might be a very splendid specimen of the wife of a mountain farmer, but is determined to be a Viennese lady, and to that end wears a fashionable tea gown on all occasions."

She is no different than her daughter. She is very dreamy and unrealistic about life. She is also sentimental about her love for the country and its strength. She is another display of fake mannerisms and social show off. She is very proud of the library in her house. She always mentions it everywhere. When her husband comes back from the war, she tells him of the electric bell she has got.


Major Petkoff does not like the idea of electric bell to call Louka rather he considers it indecent to use bell when he can shout and call the servant. She instructs him that it is considered vulgar to call the servant in loud voice. She seems to be dominating her husband and steering him in the direction she likes. She is a loving and caring mother. She is always careful of Raina. Though sentimental and impractical like Raina, yet she is considerate too. She helps the fugitive Swiss when he is out of shape and running for his life.



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