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George Bernard Shaw was in many ways ahead of his time, specifically in terms of feminism Unlike many of the men of his time he believed in equal rights for men and women and also believed in the inherent equality of the sexes, Arms and the Man is a satirical play by George Bernard Shaw which not only examines and criticizes the artistic zeitgeist of his era and the social and economic structures prevalent during the time, but also on gender roles and structures of male-female romantic relationships.
While examining the relationships with the men and the women in this play, you begin to see traditional dramatic roles being reversed The women drive all of the action throughout the play.
This is particularly interesting because in 19m century Bulgaria women were, ostensibly, considered inferior to men. However whenever a major action takes place within the world of Arms and the Man a woman is responsible When Bluntschli first enters the house it is Raina who takes the initiative and hides him, and Raina and her mother who sneak him out.
When Sergius and Louka’s flirtation begins it is Louka who begins it, though whether this is due to any particular artistic purpose or her role as a soubrette character which causes that is up for debate. It is Raina who leaves the inscribed picture for Bluntschli and Louka who incites Sergius to challenge Bluntschli to a duel. It is Louka, with her delightful speech on bravery, who inspires Sergius to propose to her.
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