Arms and the Man

Captain Bluntschli Character Analysis

Bluntschli is a Swedish professional soldier who fights with the Servians during the war. He has none of Raina or Sergius’s romantic notions about war. He thinks courage is overrated and that war is more often ugly than noble. He carries sweets with him rather than extra weapons, which leads Raina to (affectionately) call him the “chocolate cream soldier.” He is an excellent soldier, much more sensible and experienced than Sergius or Major Petkoff, and seems as sensible and cynical as Raina is romantic. However, he is touched by the fact that she takes care of him when he climbs up her balcony, and eventually admits that he is also somewhat of a romantic, and declares his affection for Raina at the end of the play.

Captain Bluntschli Quotes in Arms and the Man

The Arms and the Man quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Bluntschli or refer to Captain Bluntschli. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Arms and the Man published in 1990.
Act 1 Quotes

I am a Swiss, fighting merely as a professional soldier. I joined Servia because it came first on the road from Switzerland.

Related Characters: Captain Bluntschli (speaker), Raina Petkoff
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

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There are only two sorts of soldiers: old ones and young ones.

Related Characters: Captain Bluntschli (speaker), Raina Petkoff
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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Oh you are a very poor soldier—a chocolate cream soldier! Come, cheer up.

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker), Captain Bluntschli
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3 Quotes

I want to be quite perfect with Sergius—no meanness, no smallness, no deceit. My relation to him is the one really beautiful and noble part of my life.

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker), Captain Bluntschli, Major Sergius Saranoff
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

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Do you know, you are the first man I ever met who did not take me seriously?
You mean, don’t you, that I am the first man that has ever taken you quite seriously?

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker), Captain Bluntschli (speaker)
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

I could no more fight with you than I could make love to an ugly woman. You’ve no magnetism: you’re not a man, you’re a machine.

Related Characters: Major Sergius Saranoff (speaker), Captain Bluntschli
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

My rank is the highest known in Switzerland: I am a free citizen.

Related Characters: Captain Bluntschli (speaker)
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

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Captain Bluntschli Character Timeline in Arms and the Man

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Bluntschli appears in Arms and the Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
...the officer is asking to see the lady of the house. His name is Captain Bluntschli, and he is Swiss. Catherine is startled and tells Louka to bring him to the... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Captain Bluntschli greets Catherine warmly, and she tells him he was foolish to come, as the Bulgarians... (full context)
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Just then Major Petkoff arrives, warmly greeting Bluntschli by name and shaking his hand. He does not notice how nervous Catherine is. Sergius... (full context)
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...she had made a chocolate cream soldier that Nicola had accidentally smashed. She apologizes to Bluntschli, adding that she hopes he did not think she was referring to him with such... (full context)
Act 3
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...in the library. There are very few books, and the furnishings are less than impressive. Bluntschli is hard at work at the desk. Sergius sits with him, and is also supposed... (full context)
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Petkoff asks Bluntschli if there is any way he could be of service. Bluntschli, without pausing his writing,... (full context)
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...and asks Nicola to go fetch it. Nicola (who knows the coat is actually in Bluntschli’s bag) leaves. Petkoff playfully bets Catherine some jewelry the coat will not be found. Sergius... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina and Bluntschli are left alone. Raina tells him that the story about the night he climbed up... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Bluntschli points out that she has lied to Sergius about their meeting, and she says the... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
...has always behaved in such a way—her act has always been believed. She wonders if Bluntschli now thinks her a liar and a cheat—he tells her the opposite; that he admires... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...slipped a portrait of herself, with a note, into the coat pocket when he left. Bluntschli responds that he never looked in the pockets, and it is entirely possible the portrait... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Louka comes in, delivering written messages to Bluntschli. Bluntschli opens one and declares it is bad news—his father is dead. Raina says this... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...Louka is simply jealous of Raina. Louka laughs at this and says Raina will marry Bluntschli, a man worth ten of Sergius. Sergius takes her in his arms and insists he... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Bluntschli enters as Louka leaves. Sergius confronts him, and challenges him to a duel. Bluntschli amusedly... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina guesses that Bluntschli’s friend (the one who did not keep the secret of his story) has contacted Sergius,... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Sergius despairs, and tells Bluntschli he cannot fight him, for Bluntschli is not a man so much as he is... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Sergius hears this and in a rage throws the door open and pulls Louka inside. Bluntschli comments that he has eavesdropped before too, but it was justified because his life was... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...to her, he finds it missing. Raina eventually must explain that the portrait was for Bluntschli, and Bluntschli admits he was the Swiss fugitive in the story the Major heard. (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...arrives and admits he and Louka are not engaged, for she does not want him. Bluntschli remarks he would hire Nicola to run his hotels, for he seems a very capable... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
...She asks to know the meaning of this. Sergius says he will marry Louka, and Bluntschli congratulates them. Catherine is aghast. Louka, calling Raina by her first name, says that Raina... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Bluntschli says that by inheriting the hotels from his father he has inherited a great fortune,... (full context)