Compare and Contrast the Characters of Raina and Lauka. Whom do you think the heroine of the drama Arms and The Man? Give reasons for your answer.



Shaw has been pre-occupied mainly with the exposition of his ideas through the media of plays and this has been more so in so far as Arms and The Man is concerned. Characterization or depiction of characters in their full human round has never his forte. But nonetheless the feminine characters created by Shaw are undeniably marvelous. Raina and Louka in Arms and The Man, Joan in Saint Joan and Ann Whitefield in Man and Superman are some of the unique creations bearing the impress of Shaw’s mature and superb literary merit.


The central theme of Arms and The Man revolves around Raina Petkoff. In fact, Shaw’s aim in this play is to show how a romantic sentimental girl, full of idealistic notions about war, shakes off her illusions and accepts the commonsense views of a commonplace professional soldier and instead of marrying the romantic fool of a hero, she marries the real hero, a plain, common soldier who views things in the light of common day. Born of rich parents and bred in the lap of luxury, Raina has her character and out look shaped by her own peculiar circumstances of life. Polite, genteel and decorous in behaviour, Raina is witty, lively and pleasant in her conversation. She has a quick-grasping intellect with a wonderful presence of mind. But she is romantic and sentimental by her education and upbringing. The romantic literature and thrilling operas have stocked her imagination with visions of romantic love and adventure. She believes them to be real, through not without a tinge of skepticism and dreams to have them realized in life. But it is to be remembered that Raina’s romantic sentimentalism is no essential part of her nature. It is but a mere pose. She wears cloak of romance to hide her real self. She is essentially a woman, every inch of her. She is frank and simple and is full of pity and generosity. She has womanly reserve, dignity of carriage and sense of decency and self respect. These give her character a true feminine charm.Read More Teaching English (TEFL)

Lauka is a foil to Raina. She is an uneducated country girl, the daughter of poor farmer. She has no utter but she has learned to be polished and elegant like a lady. She has no romantic illusions like Raina. She is endowed with a strong common sense and practical wisdom. Though a servant girl she has no servile mentality. She is proud insolent and swaggering. She is always defiant to Raina. Louka differs from Raina in having a strong common sense and practical wisdom. She has a sense of reality which Raina lives in the world of imagination. Louka is proud, insolent and swaggering but Raina is polite, gentle and decorous. Read More Teaching English (TEFL) Again artful and ambitions Louka differs from simple and unambitions Raina. Despite of her engagement with Nicola, Louka sneers at him for his servile mentality.  It is she who pursues Sergius with an ambitions design. She artful exercises all her feminine charms to tempt him to marry her. To achieve her end she becomes so mean as to make unscrupulous use to Raina’s secrets about captain Bluntschli. Here she differs from Raina who, in spite of her amorous sentiment for Captain Bluntschli, never thinks of any design nor is capable of doing ‘a base deed’ or thinking ‘an ignoble thought.’




Bing quit sure of her ground, Louka slowly but steadily leads the infatuated Sergius to be a willing victim to her guile. Read More Teaching English (TEFL)  By a clever design she creates a situation in which Sergius is compelled to take her as his life’s partner. Thus she becomes Raina’s ‘equal’ and one of the prospective ‘grandest customers’ of Nicola.

Thus both Raina and Louka are two important characters in the play. The study of their contrasting attitude is integrated in the play. But while judging who is qualified as the heroine of the play it is obviously Raina who is the centre of action and interest in the play. The action beings and ends with her. Read More Teaching English (TEFL) It deals with her complete disenchantment from her romantic illusions of war, heroism and love and her final conversion from romance to realism. Louka, on the other hand, is introduced in the play to serve a specific interest in the plot. It is to wean Sergius away from Raina so that Raina may be free to marry Captain Bluntschli whom she really loves. Louka’s claim to be the heroine of the play is untenable. It does not bear scrutiny.
   
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