Arms and the Man

What will he care for my poor little wor

Raina Petkoff

Arms and the Man

See more monologues from George Bernard Shaw


Age Range
Act One, Scene One
Time & Place
Bulgaria, Petkoff home, Raina’s bedroom, nighttime, 1880s,
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Raina is a wealthy young Bulgarian woman, whose fiance, Sergius, has just lead a

Monologue Text

What will he care for my poor little worship after after the acclamations of a whole army of heroes? But no matter: I am so happy -- so proud! It proves that all our ideas were real after all. Our ideas of what Sergius would do -- our patriotism -- our heroic ideals. Oh, what faithless little creatures girls are! -- I sometimes used to doubt whether they were anything but dreams. When I buckled on Sergius’ sword he looked so noble: it was treason to think of disillusion or humiliation or failure. And yet -- and yet -- Promise me you’ll never tell him. Well, it came into my head just as he was holding me in his arms and looking into my eyes, that perhaps we only had our heroic ideas because we are so fond of reading Byron and Pushkin, and because we were so delighted with the opera that season in Bucharest. Real life is so seldom like that -- indeed never, as far as I knew it then. Only think, mother, I doubted him: I wondered whether all his heroic qualities and his soldiership might not prove mere imagination when he went into a real battle. I had an uneasy fear that he might cut a poor figure there beside all those clever Russian officers. Yes, I was only a prosaic little coward. Oh, to think that it was all true -- that Sergius is just as splendid and noble as he looks -- that the world is really a glorious world for women who can see it’s glory and men who can act its romance! What happiness! What unspeakable fulfillment!

Shaw, George Bernard. Plays by George Bernard Shaw. Penguin Group Inc, New York, NY. 2004. pp. 103 - 104.

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