English with Saddam logo

Arms and the Man summary | George Bernard Shaw

Arms and the Man summary | George Bernard Shaw

Writer’s intro:

George Bernard Shaw  Irish comedic dramatist, literary critic, and socialist propagandist (born July 26, 1856 in Dublin, Ireland—died November 2, 1950 in Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England); recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925. Pygmalion, Shaw’s most commercially successful piece, was transformed into the hit Broadway musical My Fair Lady. In 1925, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Arms and the Man is a comedy of him. So, we have written the summary of Arms and the Man.

Protagonist – Raina 

Antagonist – Bluntschli

Climax -The most exciting part is when Bluntschli shows up with the coat. The play gets the most complicated at that point. 

Themes – The play has two major Themes: war and marriage. 


Character List


Raina, a young woman from an upper class Bulgarian family, is the only daughter of Catherine and Major Petkoff. She seemed to be romantic and passionate at fist who was supposed to marry Sergious. But, the appearance of practical Bluntschli has opened her eyes and destroyed her romantic ideas of love and war. At the end, she marries the practical Bluntschli.


A professional soldier from Switzerland, who is serving in the Serbian army, fights against Bulgaria. There is a stark/ sharp/ strong contrast between Bluntschli and Raina’s Fiancé Sergius. Bluntschli is realistic man. He exposes the real notion of war to Raina.


Sergius is a Bulgarian Army. He is Raina’s somewhat foolish fiancé. Breaking the rules of soldiery, he makes a suicidal attack against the Bulgarian Armies whose guns were bullet less. Despite loving Raina, he is attracted to the maid of Petkoff family, Louka. Finally, Raina refuses him and he marries Louka.


The beautiful maid servant of Petkoff family. Despite being a maid, her ambition is really high. She makes a relationship with Raina’s Fiancé, Sergius. Finally, they get married.


Raina’s mother, a so-called rustic woman who wants to be more like a European lady but her activities make the reader laugh. 

Major Petkoff

Raina’s father Major Petkoff is a ridiculous figure. He is the major of the Bulgarians. 


Nicola is the honest male servant of Petkoff. He is not as ambitious as Louka. He wants to open a shop and he wants the members of the Petkoff family to be his eternal customers.




Arms and the Man complete summary


Act I Summary of Arms and the Man

The drama opens in a woman’s bedroom in a tiny Bulgarian village in November 1885, after the conclusion of the Serbo-Bulgarian War. On her balcony, Raina is contemplating her loving fiancé, Sergius. After a little while, her mother enters and informs her that her fiancé, Sergious, has triumphed. She learns from her mother that he defeated the Serbs as they charged on horseback.


Raina has a dream in which her wish is granted. The two women are both in a fantasy world. Louka, their housekeeper, suddenly enters and orders them to shut all the windows because the Bulgarians are pursuing the vanquished Serbs. Raina raises Sergius’ image or photo over her head while she says, “My hero, my hero,” as if she were praying before going to bed to read a romance novel.


A guy enters via the window as Raina puts out her cigarette. When Raina lights a candle, she notices a bloody and disheveled Serbian soldier who appears to be quite worn out. The man claims he won’t want to die just yet since he will be murdered if he is discovered. He notices that Raina is dressed in a short nightgown, so he stealthily takes it away and threatens to strip her nude if she doesn’t allow Bulgarian soldiers into her room. The Bulgarian army wants to examine Raina’s chamber, Louka begins to pound loudly on her door, informing her of this.


Before opening the door, Raina drags him into hiding behind the curtains. A kind Russian soldier in the Bulgarian army enters the space and requests permission to search it. When the Russian officer notices that the room is empty, he adjourns. Louka, though, is aware that the Serbian is in her room since she notices a pistol there.


Act I.I Summary of Arms and the Man

In order to make money, Bluntschli claims to be a Swiss mercenary who fights for the Serbians. When Raina sees the gun, she panics and cries. However, he claims that he is without any cartridges. He instead sends chocolates. She jokingly hands him a box of chocolate creams that has been partially consumed, and he eats them all. The soldier claims to have been engaged in combat for three days, during which time he has continuously been under fire. He’s hungry and exhausted. His predicament moves Raina.


After that, he clarifies how unprofessional the Bulgarians are. Against the Serbians, whose weapons were empty, they launched a desperate cavalry attack. No Bulgarian would be alive today if they had ammunition in their rifles. Raina is so incensed that she won’t accept the mercenary’s story and claims Sergius is a hero instead. The mercenary verifies that the man who was “charging like Don Quixote at the windmills” is in fact Sergius after Raina shows him a picture of her fiancé. Raina becomes enraged and orders the mercenary to leave when the man struggles to contain his laughing.


Act I.II Summary of Arms and the Man

However, he has been unable to sleep for the previous 36 hours, which has prevented him from moving. Raina refers to him as a “chocolate cream solider” after learning about his issue. She argues that her family is gracious enough to let individuals stay with them for a while. She brings up the opera Ernani, in which an aristocratic family shelters a wanted man despite their dislike for him.

It’s amusing when Raina brags about how well off her family is, mentioning things like how they have the only personal library in the nation, an indoor staircase, or wash their hands every day. After three days, the soldier feels secure at last, but he is fatigued. When Raina tries to locate her mother, the unfortunate mercenary collapses on her bed. Whereas Raina and Catherine return, they make an effort to awaken the sleeping soldier. When Raina sees how helpless he appears, she is affected and encourages her mother to let him go to sleep. Catherine is astounded by her daughter’s affection for the enemy.



Act II Summary of Arms and the Man

Four months have passed since the chocolate cream army incident. Standing in the kitchen with their breakfast-related items are Louka and Nicola. They are debating the family secrets they are aware of. Suddenly, Major Petkoff’s voice can be heard coming from outside. He’s back from the war now. He explains the events of the war to his wife. By informing Catherine that her sore throat is the result of doing too much laundry and making fun of a British soldier who had a bath every day during the war, the Major demonstrates his ignorance.

He is referred to as a “barbarian” by Catherine, who asserts that “civilized people never shout for their servants.” Sergius arrives at the gate during their back-and-forth, and Nicola is instructed to assist him with his belongings. Sergius is furious because he shouldn’t have received a promotion following his reckless cavalry charge, Major Petkoff informs his wife.


Catherine doesn’t believe the Major, even if he hinted at the allegation, and treats the dashing, idealistic, and occasionally gloomy Sergius like a returning hero. Catherine, who is astonished, is informed by him that the cavalry charge destroyed his military career and that he has resigned.


Act II.I Summary of Arms and the Man

Sergius confesses to Catherine his abhorrence of the military and combat. The despicable skill of putting an opponent at a disadvantage, he claims, is what it means to be a soldier. He also rails against the foreign commanders’ sterile professionalism. According to Major Petkoff, the foreign officers were left behind to instruct the local troops on how to conduct a successful battle.

Raina and Sergius enjoy some alone time when Catherine and Major Petkoff depart. The two loves exchange formal greetings of “holy awe” and start singing high praises for one another. Raina informs Sergius that they had discovered a “better love” without a touch of cynicism. They are interrupted from their amorous exchange when Louka enters the garden to clean up the coffee cups. To go for a stroll and enjoy some alone with Sergius, Raina goes to collect her hat.


Sergius informs Louka that greater love is really deep when Raina departs. Louka, who is usually sane, advises him to either let her go or at the very least transfer them to the back where they won’t be seen. Sergius tries to kiss Louka, but Louka rejects him and criticizes his affection for Raina. Louka refuses to let Sergius off the hook despite his attempts to make him feel horrible for making fun of Raina.



Act II.II Summary of Arms and the Man

Sergius apologizes and notes that Louka’s pride was wounded but is still intact. Louka, though, rejects his apologies. She claims that kissing her sore arm is the only thing that will help the situation. Just before Raina enters the room, Sergius responds with a “no.” Sergius is needed to assist Major Petkoff in coordinating troop movements, and just as the pair is preparing to leave for a stroll, Catherine calls for him. While Raina is at the library, Sergius assists Raina’s father.

Catherine and Raina engage in combat while Sergius aids the Major. Raina is questioned by Catherine about the Swiss mercenary’s visitation time. Raina admits ignorance before advising Catherine’s mother to wed her “pet” Sergius. It would be pleasant, in Raina’s opinion, to inform Sergius about the chocolate-cream soldier. She claims that she frequently wishes to startle or irritate Sergius’s worn-out sense of decorum.


When Raina and Catherine have finished fighting, Louka enters and announces that a Serbian officer of Swiss ancestry has arrived and wants to meet the lady of the house. Catherine makes a hasty decision and orders Louka to stealthily shut the door to the library where Major Petkoff and Sergius are working before escorting the Swiss soldier and all of his luggage outside.

A Serbian officer showing up in their home will infuriate her husband, Catherine warns the chocolate cream soldier, now going by the name Captain Bluntschli, as soon as he enters the garden. The Captain has come to return the old housecoat that was used to smuggle him into the nation, but Catherine is more concerned about getting him out of their home before the Major notices him.



Act II.III Summary of Arms and the Man

Major Petkoff and Sergius go out to formally welcome Bluntschli, with whom they did business during the war, before Catherine can order the mercenary to leave the yard. The two Bulgarian troops beseech Bluntschli to remain and assist them in coordinating troop movements because they are lost. Raina recognizes Bluntschli as the chocolate cream soldier as he is on his way to the renowned library to assist them. She screams aloud when she sees him.

Raina draws confused looks from Sergius and Major Petkoff. She explains in a hurry that Nicola destroyed the chocolate cream soldier cake adornment she had created for her. Raina and Captain Bluntschli are introduced by Catherine as though it is the first time they have ever met. Before having to return to Switzerland, Major Petkoff requests that Bluntschli stay with his family. The request of the Major is backed by Raina and Sergius. Bluntschli decides to stay for Catherine’s sake.


Act III Summary of Arms and the Man

This action continues in the Petkoffs’ library. Bluntschli is hard at work, giving instructions on how the Bulgarian army should be organized in a professional manner. Petkoff says all he needs to feel comfortable at the moment is his old favorite coat, but he can’t seem to locate it. When Catherine summons Nicola, she instructs the butler to get his master’s old coat from the blue wardrobe. Petkoff is so confident that it isn’t there that he is prepared to risk losing a pricey piece of jewelry with her.

Sergius is going to participate when Nicola abruptly returns carrying the coat. Petkoff is stunned and perplexed when Nicola claims that it was indeed hanging in the blue closet. In order to prevent Sergius from making a mistake, Bluntschli completes the last order, hands it to him to deliver to his soldiers, and then instructs Petkoff to follow. Petkoff invites his wife along since she is an excellent commander. Bluntschli is taken aback when army superiors summon their spouses to maintain order when he is alone with Raina.

Act III.I Summary of Arms and the Man

Raina comments to Captain Bluntschli that he looks much better now that he is clean and inquires as to his activities following his departure from her bedroom. She explains to him that the entire incident has been discussed so frequently that both her father and her fiancé are aware of what occurred but are unsure of who was responsible.

If Sergius knew, in Raina’s opinion, “he’d challenge you to a duel and murder you.” Bluntschli says he hopes Raina won’t say anything, but Raina tells him she wants to be absolutely honest with Sergius. Raina claims that as a result of Bluntschli, she has already lied twice: once to the troops who were searching her room for him and once again just now over the chocolate pudding. She claims that she feels guilty for lying.



Act III.II Summary of Arms and the Man

When Raina asks him what he thought of her giving him a picture of herself, Bluntschli tells her that he never got it because he never put his hand in the coat pocket where Raina had put it. 

He isn’t worried until he finds out that Raina wrote “To my Chocolate Cream Soldier” on it. Bluntschli admits that he pawned the coat in the meantime because he thought that was the safest place for it. Raina is very angry, and she says that he has a “shopkeeping mind.” At this point, Louka comes in with some letters and telegrams for Bluntschli. They tell him that his father has died and that Bluntschli has inherited several hotels that he will have to run.

He needs to leave right away. Raina, who is scared, follows him out. Nicola walks in and sees Louka’s bruised arm showing through her rolled-up sleeve. He tells her to stop doing that. Then they argue about what a servant is supposed to do. When Sergius comes in, Nicola leaves right away. Sergius sees that Louka’s arm is discolored and asks if he can cure it by kissing it.

Louka tells him where he belongs and where she belongs. Louka tells him that Raina will never marry him, that she is going to marry the Swiss soldier. As she turns to leave, Sergius grabs her and holds her tightly. As he threatens her and questions whether or not she is telling the truth, she wonders if anyone would believe that she is now in his arms. He lets her go, saying that if he ever touches her again, it will be as her future husband.



Act III.III Summary of Arms and the Man

Sergius approaches Bluntschli and issues a dueling proclamation as Louka departs. Despite being unsure of the specifics of the duel, the Captain agrees. Bluntschli prefers to fight on the ground since riding is too risky and he doesn’t want to kill Sergius. Sergius offers that they engage in a saber duel while mounted. The Captain is certain he can disarm Sergius without harming him because of his experience with the sword. Inquiring as to why, Raina enters as they are discussing the specifics of the duel.


Bluntschli and Sergius get into a heated debate. Sergious is upset with him because her fiancee treats him differently than he did with Sergious. Raina comes in. When Sergius continues to accuse Louka, Raina retorts that she witnessed their physical interaction and is thus aware of their connection. Sergius decides to call off the combat with Bluntschli after realizing that his engagement to Raina is over. Since Bluntschli didn’t want the fight in the first place, he is relieved to be out of it.

Sergious and Raina are battling ferociously. Bluntschli asks Louka where she is abruptly. Sergius vehemently disputes Raina’s claim that she is keeping an ear out at the door. In order to show that she was paying attention, Raina walks to the door and tugs Louka inside. Louka doesn’t feel guilty. She claims that the love she has for Sergius is in jeopardy and that it outweighs Raina’s sentiments for the “chocolate cream soldier.”



Act III.IV Summary of Arms and the Man

Major Petkoff enters at this point while his previous coat is being mended and is wearing short sleeves. When Nicola enters the room with the coat, Raina assists him in putting it on before deftly removing the photo from the coat pocket.

Therefore, the photo isn’t there when her father tries to fetch it to ask Raina what a picture of her that says “Raina, to her Chocolate Cream Soldier: A Souvenir” means. Sergius is asked if he is the “chocolate cream soldier” by Major Petkoff, who doesn’t know who Sergius is.

The Major declares angrily that he is not. Then Bluntschli claims that Raina saved his life and that he is the “chocolate cream soldier.” Despite the fact that Louka is engaged to Nicola, Raina informs Petkoff that Sergius truly likes Louka. Nicola disputes this and asserts that when he opens his business, he wants Louka’s endorsement.

Petkoff is even more perplexed by this. Louka wants an apology since she suddenly feels like she is being traded. She reminds Sergius that she is now his “affianced wife” as he kisses her hand to apologize. Sergius adheres to his promise and claims Louka as his own despite forgetting what he said previously.


Act III.V Summary of Arms and the Man

At this point, Catherine walks in and is shocked to see Louka and Sergius together. Before Raina can respond, Bluntschli asserts that a young, attractive woman like Raina cannot be in love with a soldier who is 34 years old and who can’t stop being romantic. Louka claims that Raina just likes Bluntschli. He claims that the main reason he returned was to see Raina one more time rather than to return the coat, although he believes she is just seventeen.

Then Raina informs Bluntschli that if he believes that she, a twenty-three-year-old woman, is a seventeen-year-old girl, he is truly a naive romantic. Bluntschli now requests permission to pursue Raina’s hand in marriage. Bluntschli begins to recount all of his possessions, including 200 horses, when he is reminded that Sergius comes from a long line of keepers of at least twenty horses. He makes no mention of the fact that any of these items have anything to do with the recently acquired hotel company.



Conclution of the Summary of Arms and the Man

Everyone agrees that Raina should marry him because of his remarkable list of accomplishments and because she is content with her “chocolate cream soldier.” When Bluntschli departs, he promises to return in two weeks. Sergius asks, “Who is that? “, shocked by the sight. That person, is he?”


You can read more summary:
As You Like It-
Riders to the Sea

Share This :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Saddam Hossain

Founder & Language Instructor

Apart from English language and literature skill, I’m a Digital Marketer & Content Writer at My Writing Pen, BD Business Finder, NY Bizlisting.

subscribe & follow

Join the newsletter

you will receive latest study material and updates on your favorite

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.

Learning English or improving language skill in an easy way is our main goal that will certainly enable you to remove your English phobia.

error: Sorry, prohibition is set on copying content !!