Response to the Military Heroism in G. B. Shaw’s “Arms and the Man”

Military Heroism regards a soldier as a superhuman being above the ordinary weaknesses, moved entirely by noble impulses Patriotism and self sacrifice, utter disregard of life, and strive for honour and honour only—these are the traits of Military Heroism. Military Heroism is the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in literary works such as great epics or poems. Survival in the Face of Mass Destruction of War is in fact the goal in being a soldier and that there is s no such unified political or national response to the Military Heroism.

Shaw thinks that this view is the view of home sweet home who have never been to the battle front. In reality, a soldier is a man like any other man. War is his profession. A true soldier is not anxious to fling away his life, but he adopts all means to save it. The hero Bluntschli climbs a waterpipe and enters a lady’s bed-room in order to save his life. He does no jump to the mouth of the cannon like Sergius who, he say, should be court-martialled for this act of tomfoolery.

A true hero is a coward at heart as much as any of us. Even Sergius who displays heroic bravado in the beginning ultimately exclaims—“Soldiering is the coward’s act of attacking mercilessly when you are strong and keeping out of harm ’s way when you are weak. That is the whole secret of successful fighting. Get your opponent at a disadvantage never, never fight on equal terms”.

However, we do read about people taking Military Heroism with being sure about water, food, and comfort. Since the war destroys real families, resources and homes, the soldiers of war are forced to come together and make a new kind of reality. Shaw’s ideas might seem fantastically unreal or cynically unnatural. But Shaw asserts that competent military authority will bear testimony to these unromantic facts. The so-called Military Heroism is the invention of civilians; it lives in imagination only.

Ardhendu De


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