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Arms and the Man

From Academic Kids

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw. Its title comes from the opening words of Virgil's Aeneid: "Arma virumque cano" (Of arms and the man I sing). (Template:Perseus)

The play was first produced in 1894, and published in 1898 as part of Shaw's Plays Pleasant volume, which also included Candida, You Never Can Tell, and The Man of Destiny.

Shaw's plays often point out the hypocrisy or worthlessness of Victorian values, and Arms and the Man is no exception. Its satirical target is the people who think war is "glorious" or "noble."

The play takes place during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War. Its heroine, Raina, is a young Bulgarian woman engaged to one of the heroes of that war, who she idealizes. One night, a Swiss voluntary soldier to the Serbian army bursts into her bedroom and begs her to hide him, so that he is not killed. Raina complies, though she thinks the man a coward, especially when he tells her that he doesn't carry rifle cartridges, but chocolate creams.

During the course of the play, Raina comes to realize the hollowness of her romantic idea and her fiancÚ's values, and the true nobility of the "chocolate-cream soldier."

Shaw sold the rights to adapt the play into a German operetta, certain that it would never be produced. However, it became a phenomenal hit as The Chocolate Soldier, and Shaw vowed never to sell musicalization rights again. (His estate eventually relented, allowing the production of My Fair Lady).

It is also the title of a German film, runner up for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1958.Template:Lit-stub

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