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"An Essay on the Both Romantic and Realistic Characters in Arms and the Man"
An Essay on the Both Romantic and Realistic Characters in Arms and the Man
Rebecca Wyant
Throughout the years, a prominent difference between and separation of Romanticism and Realism has always existed. The gap between the two with characters and with genres is often clear, and who is Romantic and what is Realistic is plainly defined. In his play, Shaw melds Romanticism and Realism into a given character with the result of touching upon deceiving appearances and a well-written comedy. In Arms and the Man, Shaw's characters give the reader first impressions that contradict aspects of their personality later revealed throughout the course of the play, specifically contrasting between Romantic and Realistic viewpoints; such characters that later contrast their first impressions are Raina, Louka, and Officer Bluntschli.

The first character introduced to us in the play is Raina, a rather idealistic young woman. She initially appears to have Romantic ideals, as her seemingly upper class upbringing has allowed only that narrow mind-set. At the inflated news of a victorious cavalry charge for the army her family supports which is later very de-glamorized by Officer Bluntshli, Raina says (paraphrased), "Oh I am so happy! So proud! It proves our patriotism and our heroic ideals are real!" Raina's interjection displays her Romantic ideals influenced by Romantic literature, such as that written by Byron and Pushkin as mentioned by Raina in the play. But as the acts of the play progress, and as she comes in contact with The Man (a.k.a. Officer Bluntschli) who reveals to her more grounded views of the world contrary to her ideas of brave soldiers eager to give their lives to serve their country, Raina adopts a more sullen, realistic mentality. She reacts bitterly to the insensitive regard for death that soldiers have when Louka mentions that Officer Bluntschli has no word of grief for his father's death. She replies, "[bitterly] Grief! A man who...

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"An Essay on the Both Romantic and Realistic Characters in Arms and the Man." Aug 20, 2018
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Literature / Novels
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