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To what extent do Sergius and 'The Man' conform to Raina's notion of a 'romantic hero'?

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Introduction

To what extent do Sergius and 'The Man' conform to Raina's notion of a 'romantic hero'? Throughout the first pages of this anti-romantic play, Bernard Shaw, through the character of Raina, describes the characteristics some women of that time thought the 'perfect man' should have. This 'perfect man' is best translated into the idea of a romantic hero. In this case, it's Raina who has a fixed idea of how her husband should be. She wants a man with gallant behaviour and with her 'heroic ideals. This is the case of Sergius, to whom Raina is engaged with. However, it is ironic how another character in the play is the total opposite of Sergius. For example, 'the man' is a mercenary while Sergius is a soldier. In the start of the play, Bernard Shaw describes to us the appearance of Sergius, which goes hand in hand with Raina's notion of a 'romantic hero'. He is described as 'extremely handsome' with his clean officer uniform and with a 'magnetic glance', which is felt from the photograph. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand, 'The Man' is portrayed as somebody with an 'energetic manner', 'good humour', childish because he always carries 'chocolates' instead of 'ammunition' which is totally the opposite of what Sergius or a 'hero' would do. Furthermore, he is a coward because he doesn't 'intend to get killed' if he can help it and also that he is scared of climbing down the water pipe because the 'very thought of it' made him 'giddy'. 'The Man' although he seems to be a coward, he sounds more like a real soldier due to his appearance. Unlike Sergius that sounds more as an 'imaginary character', rather than a real one. Moreover, the way both characters talk and act will help us to evaluate if they conform Raina's notion of a 'romantic hero'. Although at the start, Sergius hasn't yet been included in the dialogue, we can predict what type of vocabulary he will use and what will be his actions, as well as his reactions. However, it's not necessary to mention all of these, because they will be the opposite of 'The Man's' actions; for example, Sergius would prefer ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that Sergius is a serious character rather than a funny character like 'The Man' who mocks the actions of the 'romantic hero' making him look as 'the very maddest'. On the other hand, 'The Man' is not brave at all, he even looks and acts like a child, for example he doesn't want Raina to 'scold' him. He tries to make Raina feel pity for him, which is a contrast with a hero because heroes don't intend to make women feel sorry for them. 'The Man' tries to show his emotions by crying; 'would you like to see me cry?', to which Raina reacts 'alarmed' because for her men or soldiers, can't cry. In conclusion, Sergius conforms Raina's notion of a 'romantic hero' to the extent that he has all the characteristics that make a 'romantic hero' according to Raina. These characteristics have a vast range, which goes from bravery to the way he talks and reacts. 'The Man' unlike Sergius, lacks all the characteristics of a 'romantic hero', he even is the opposite of a 'romantic hero' who is neither strong nor brave and who doesn't respect Raina due to the irony and sarcasm of his words. Yamile Jasaui 02-05-04 ...read more.

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