Themes and Important Topics in Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw
Theme of War in Arms and the Man
: War has been the most discussed topics of the world literature. None praises it but several defend it on the grounds of punishing the evil and wicked. However, the ruins of war leave man lamenting for ages for why he ever went into it. The playwright tries to convey the cruelty and inhuman deeds associated with war in a light tone:
"I wish our people were not so cruel. What glory is there in killing wretched fugitives?"
Her further advances to make us realized that fighting in the name of one's country or pride brings to fruits except pity and curse of the coming generations:
"Soldiering... is the coward's art of attacking mercilessly when you are strong, and keeping out of harm's way when you are weak. That is the whole secret of successful fighting."
Theme of Jingoism and National Pride in Arms and the Man
: Every war is initiated either in the name of nationalism or to manifest one's creed and its superiority. The playwright focuses on the notion that none focuses the superiority of humanity and the values associated with it. Catherine wants her daughter to be worthy of her Fiance because he is a war hero: "Oh, if you have a drop of Bulgarian blood in your veins, you will worship him when he comes back." Catherine does not like the treaty of peace because the Serves ought to be taught that the Bulgarians are mighty.
Theme of Hypocrisy in Arms and the Man
: Hypocrisy has been the age old problem with mankind. Humans claim one thing while believe in another. Similarly, the soldiers fighting in the name of national pride and bravery are cowards. The aristocrats have hypocrites and they present themselves for what they are really not. They show off a humane and gentle appearance but inside of them they are cheaters and losers. Sergius flirts with Louka while Raina has romantic imagination about the Swiss despite both Raina and Sergius are engaged with each other. Ironically, both vow of great and pure love which is "higher love" for Sergius and "worthy" love for Raina. Catherine would not shout for the servant because it is considered indecent.
Theme of Feminine Sentimentalism in Arms and the Man
: Sentimentality of the fair sex has always been subject to criticism and fun for the writers since ages. Women are considered soft at heart and weak in the mind. They are easy to move and influence. Our dear Raina and her mother prove to be of this category; however, Louka, a rough and tough maid, proves to be of another kind. The way the daughter and mother help escape the fugitive soldier is really amazing and unbelievable.
Theme of Courage in Arms and the Man
: There is an old maxim "fortune favours the brave", the character of Louka fits in this play. She is the bravest of all. She is straight forward and does not bend before the high and mighty. She risks her job, her relationship with Nicola to gain the matrimonial relationship with Sergius. And eventually, all her endeavours and entrapping get hold of the stupid and foolish Sergius.