In the play Arms and the Man, by Bernard Shaw, Major Sergius Saranoff is definitely one of the most round characters. Sergius possesses many distinct characteristics, which single him out from the other characters in the play. Many of these qualities have been accumulated through his military experience; it is apparent to anyone of this military background from his army uniform and his rugged face. Major Saranoff is an extremely important character in the play due to his engagement to Raina, the sole child of the richest family in Bulgaria, the Petkoffs and because of his highly regarded military status. Sergius is proven to be a round character as he shows three main qualities throughout the play, bravery, spontaneity and deceitfulness. The military has always been a tool where one may demonstrate bravery and this was the way that Sergius proved how brave he was.
The Bulgarian army that he was leading was composed mostly of heavy cavalry, which were charging a battery of machine guns. This action, in itself, is one of true bravery, or sheer stupidity. Luckily, the wrong ammunition was sent to the Swiss army and Sergius and his cavalry came on top. Two conclusions can be drawn from this insane action, either Sergius knew that the ammunition was faulty or that Sergius decided that they were going to be slaughtered anyway and that they should risk charging. Either way, Major Saranoff showed an extremely courageous and brave gesture. As shown in the beginning of the first act, all of the characters in the play recognized Sergius as a war hero except Bluntschli.
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? ? led a charge on his own responsibility? headed it himself? was the first man to sweep through their guns? (p. 307).
Bluntschli saw him as a lucky moron, who didn? t have the brains to see that they were going to die and was lucky enough to charge at that specific time. ? He and his regiment simply committed suicide; only the pistol missed fire, thats all? (p. 314).
Being spontaneous is not always odd, in the case of Major Saranoff, it is.
Spontaneity is one of the main characteristics, which add to Sergius? odd character. As opposed to minor situations where spontaneity is used, such as a choice on dinner, Sergius takes this impulsiveness to the next level. In the first few scenes of the play, it is known that Sergius is engaged to Raina, later on it is known that he is having an affair with Louka. Marriage itself is a great commitment, and to be jumping straight from an engagement to an affair with a fianc? is the epitome of spontaneity. What is also unusual is the reaction that the characters have to Sergius and his strange ways. All of the characters accept Major Saranoff? s decision and think nothing of it.
This is evidence in the last scene of the play, where Sergius? foreplay is revealed to the family. ? Well, my dear, it appears that Sergius is going to marry Louka instead of Raina? (p. 351).
Mr. Petkoff shows nor joy, nor sadness or despair towards Sergius? choice. In the play, Sergius is unquestionably the most deceitful character.
The unspoken law of fidelity also applies to couples, which are engaged. Sergius directly broke this law and in doing so showed his true cunning personality. After Sergius took part in this dishonest act, it was apparent that he did not care for anyone, only for himself. The root to his deceitfulness is most likely from being in the military and reaching so unspeakably close to death.
This would create for a very dramatic time in one? s life and could very well influence someone greatly. Although, with excuses such as this, there was no truly right excuse for having an affair with Louka. Catherine, the mother of Raina, was the only character in the play, which seemed to react with anger or disgust to the news of Sergius? false-hearted ways. ? Marry Louka! Sergius: you are bound by your word to us! ? (p.
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In this statement it is obvious that Catherine is mad, for two main reasons, the first because Sergius vowed to marry Raina, and the second because he is choosing a servant over Raina. From the three main qualities which Sergius demonstrates throughout the play, courage, impulsiveness and faithlessness, it is proven that he is a round character. The cause to Sergius? peculiar actions and emotions are not certain although after going through the stage of near death at the battle field, Sergius most likely stopped thinking about worries of the world and most certainly did not care too much about anything. This is the most logical explanation to the cause to this change.
Although not apparent, one must wonder that, after the emotions demonstrated by Raina towards Sergius throughout the play, at one point Raina did love him and that this new image of himself has changed Raina? s opinion of him. Bibliography “Arms and the man’ by Bernard Shaw.