Arms and the Man

That’s what you’d have said if you’d see

Captain Bluntschli

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

Captain Bluntschli is professional soldier, a Swiss working for the Serbian army,

Monologue Text

That’s what you’d have said if you’d seen the first man in the charge today. He did it like an operatic tenor -- a regular handsome fellow, with flashing eyes and lovely moustache, shouting a war cry and charging like Don Quixote at the windmills. We nearly burst with laughter at him; but when the sergeant ran up as white as sheet, and told us they’d sent us the wrong cartridges, and that we couldn’t fire a shot for the next ten minutes, we laughed at the other side of our mouths. I never felt so sick in my life, though I’ve been in one or two very tight places. And I hadn’t even a revolver cartridge -- nothing but chocolate. We’d no bayonets -- nothing. Of course, they just cut us to bits. And there was Don Quixote flourishing like a drum major, thinking he’d done the cleverest thing ever known, whereas he ought to be courtmartialled for it. Of all the fools ever let loose on a field of battle, that man must be the very maddest. He and his regiment simply committed suicide -- only the pistol missed fire, that’s all.

Shaw, George Bernard. Plays by George Bernard Shaw. Penguin Group Inc, New York, NY. 2004. pp. 112-113.

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