Analysis of the character of Raina in Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw
Analysis of Raina character in Arms and the Man: The play is a romantic comedy of a young, beautiful and sentimental girl, Raina; she day dreams and idealizes the heroism of her Fiance. She puts to display a splendid show of mannerism with apparent irony in it. The playwright has employed her as a tool to criticize the stupid pride of nationalism and resultant jingoism. She is also a symbol of aristocratic as well as a common female gender that would always be sentimental and impractical about the truthful and bitter realities of the world. The playwright describes her romantic nature:
"A young lady, intensely conscious of the romantic beauty of the night, and of the fact that her own youth and beauty is a part of it, is on the balcony, gazing at the snowy Balkans."
Under the influence of her romantic ideals, she helps a fugitive soldier of the enemy country against which her Fiance and father are fighting. She gives him refuge as well as the chocolate and creams. The matter does not stop here; she happens to give him her heart too. She falls in love with him for his innocent and inspiring conversation with her.
But she is a victim of hypocrisy for she is kissing the picture of her Fiance while entertaining the love of the Swiss in her heart and idealizing him as "chocolate cream soldier". She is happy to be engaged to Sergius, a war hero in her imagination but she is cherishing the dreams of a romantic relationship with the Swiss soldier.
She places her photograph in the coat given to the Swiss soldier with the words: "Raina, to her Chocolate Cream Soldier-a souvenir". Though she claims her love and association with Sergius:
"I want to be quite perfect with Sergius-no meanness, no smallness, no deceit. My relation to him is the one really beautiful and noble part of my life."
Yet the relationship between her and the Swiss as well as the cleverness of Louka combined with the flirting of Sergius clear her way to the Swiss, her romantic ideal.