Special lecture on ‘Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man’

Bluntschli’s character by Shaw was a contradiction to the soldiers of chivalry and valour of the time: Prof Gavin Jude Wilson

“At a time when war was romanticised and glorified, G B Shaw was one of the early writers to break the stereotype by introducing a chocolate cream soldier Bluntschli, whose character was a contradiction to the soldiers of chivalry and valour of the time,” said Prof Gavin Jude Wilson.

He was speaking at a special lecture organised by the department of English, SBRR Mahajana First Grade College, on Tuesday.

Providing glimpses of Shaw as a dramatist and social critic, Prof Wilson said: “G B Shaw showed his audience the vagaries and anguish of destruction caused by war. The characters of Sergius and Bluntschli as soldiers strike a remarkable contrast in their preparation of war, where the former is all about power, fame and conquest while the latter is about the true spirit of a soldier and also their differences towards similar situations.”

The speaker then shifted his focus to love Raina, the heroine of the play, who is enchanted by the victory of her fiancée Sergius and fascinated by the stories from the battlefield. Bluntschli bursts the bubble by narrating the imbecile actions of Sergious during the battle.

The cunning Louka and her Machinations to bring confusion in the Petkoff household and her illicit relationship with Sergius contributes majorly to the plot. The character of Nicola is that of an overly faithful servant whose servitude and loyalty is hardly taken note of by the Petkoffs.

An unexpected love free from worldly bindings blossoms between Raina and Blutschli breaking the marriage of convenience that was to take place with Sergius.

Prof Gavin concluded by providing a comparison between Ibsen and Shaw where Shaw unlike Ibsen plays to the sense and sensibilities of the orthodox English Society by wrapping the play with an ‘All’s Well that ends Well’ ending.

K R Manjunath, head of the department of English along with faculty members and students of English literature were present during the lecture.

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