In the opening scene of Arms and the Man, which establishes the play's embattled Balkan setting, young Raina learns of her suitor's heroic exploits in combat. She rhapsodizes that it is "a glorious world for women who can see its glory and men who can act its romance!" Soon, however, such romantic falsifications of love and warfare are brilliantly and at times hilariously unmasked in a comedy that reveals George Bernard Shaw at his best as an acute social observer and witty provocateur.
First produced on the London stage in 1894, Arms and the Man continues to be among the most performed of Shaw’s plays around the world. The play is reprinted in its entirety here from an authoritative British edition, and is complete with Shaw's stimulating preface to Volume II of Plays: Pleasant and Unpleasant.