Arms and the Man

Raina Petkoff Character Analysis

Raina is the play’s protagonist, a 23-year-old Bulgarian woman who is betrothed to the “heroic” Sergius, and who speaks in a dramatic, affected manner and (for much of the play) sing Sergius’s praises. The Petkoffs are an affluent, powerful family in Bulgaria and Raina works hard to maintain the kind of dignified air that (she imagines) befits her status. She acts like a hopeless romantic, often clutching a novel and staring dreamily out the window. But when she meets Bluntschli, after he crawls onto her balcony while fleeing battle, it becomes clear she is not what she seems. Though Bluntschli is the opposite of everything Raina professes to want, she is intrigued by him, and eventually falls for him. She admits to him later that she speaks with such passion and drama not because she feels such things but because she notices it often has an effect and people admire her for it. She eventually agrees to court Bluntschli and breaks off her engagement with Sergius.

Raina Petkoff Quotes in Arms and the Man

The Arms and the Man quotes below are all either spoken by Raina Petkoff or refer to Raina Petkoff. 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

On the balcony a young lady, intensely conscious of the romantic beauty of the night, and of the fact that her own youth and beauty are part of it, is gazing at the snowy Balkans.

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

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I am so happy—so proud! It proves all our ideas were real after all.

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker), Major Sergius Saranoff, Catherine Petkoff
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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The world is really a glorious world for women who can see its glory and men who can act its romance!

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker)
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

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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 2 Quotes

Sergius Saranoff…is a tall, romantically handsome man…the result is precisely what the advent of the nineteenth century thought first produced in England: to wit, Byronism…it is clear that here is Raina’s ideal hero

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker), Major Sergius Saranoff (speaker)
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

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Dearest, all my deeds have been yours. You inspired me. I have gone through the war like a knight in a tournament with his lady looking down on him!

Related Characters: Major Sergius Saranoff (speaker), Raina Petkoff
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

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I think we two have found the higher love. When I think of you, I feel that I could never do a base deed, or think an ignoble thought.

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker), Major Sergius Saranoff
Page Number: 25
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:

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The world is not such an innocent place as we used to think.

Related Characters: Major Sergius Saranoff (speaker), Raina Petkoff, Louka
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

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Raina Petkoff Character Timeline in Arms and the Man

The timeline below shows where the character Raina Petkoff appears in Arms and the Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
On the balcony there is a beautiful lady (Raina), who looks out into the sky as though she is appreciating its beauty, and as... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Catherine chastises Raina for being up and out of bed so late, and Raina tells her she couldn’t... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina is rapturously happy to hear of Sergius’s success. She remarks that it “proves our ideas... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina dismisses her worries as the result of cowardice, and affirms that Sergius is as splendid... (full context)
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
...almost insolent. She also looks excited, but not in the rapturous way of Catherine and Raina, and she is clearly contemptuous of their romantic demeanors. She tells them that there will... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina expresses her sadness that the Bulgarians, her people, are cruelly slaughtering fugitives, and wonders what... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina speaks to the portrait of Sergius, telling him she shall never be unworthy of him... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
There is the sound of the shutters opening and closing, and a figure enters Raina’s room. The man lights a match and Raina demands to know who is there. He... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina scornfully tells him he is not behaving like a gentlemen. There are footsteps outside Raina’s... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...enters to say that neighbors have seen a man crawling up the water pipe into Raina’s rooms. Raina insists she heard nothing. Catherine calls a Russian officer into the room, and... (full context)
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
The man emerges from his hiding place, expresses his undying gratitude to Raina and explains that he is Swiss, a professional soldier, and that he bears no allegiance... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
The man wishes he had some chocolates now, and Raina goes to her drawers and scornfully thrusts a box of chocolate creams his way. He... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Raina is moved by this vulnerability, and apologizes. She then draws herself up and says that... (full context)
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina skeptically demands that he explain himself, and he describes a cavalry charge, led by a... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina is disheartened by this, but remains steadfastly loyal to Sergius. She points out his portrait... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Raina is “disarmed by pity” and comforts him, calling him a “chocolate cream soldier” and tells... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
The man tells Raina she better inform her mother, for he does not wish to be a secret guest... (full context)
Act 2
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...he knows secrets too, mentioning he knows about something that would end the engagement of Raina and Sergius if it ever got out. Louka is incredulous and asks Nicola how he... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...He is, according to the stage directions, the picture of Byronism—idealistic, handsome, brooding. He is Raina’s “ideal hero.” Catherine is delighted to see him. Major Petkoff, less so. (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...war for Bulgaria and still been unfairly denied a promotion. He then asks to see Raina, who appears suddenly around the side of the house. Petkoff remarks aside to Catherine that... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Sergius greets Raina with “splendid gallantry” as if she were a queen. Raina greets her father, and listens... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Raina and Catherine act horribly offended by this story, and Raina wishes Sergius had refrained from... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Sergius and Raina exchange romantic words. Sergius tells Raina all his heroic deeds have been for her, and... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...refuses, so she suggests that they at least go somewhere they cannot be seen, as Raina is probably watching them from the window. (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...kiss Louka, and Louka tells him she doesn’t want his affection—he is making love behind Raina’s back just as she is doing behind his. Sergius recoils and demands her to explain... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
She says she doesn’t know, for she only heard his voice through Raina’s bedroom door. She says she is sure that if the man ever returns, Raina will... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...and Sergius are made of the same “clay” and that she is worth six of Raina, who is “a liar and a cheat.” Sergius apologizes for hurting her, and Louka asks... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Now in private with Raina, Catherine calls the Swiss man a beast for spreading the story of their hospitality around,... (full context)
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...says he believes he could help. Sergius happily tells him to come inside. Just then, Raina arrives, and exclaims in shock, “the chocolate cream soldier!” (full context)
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Raina collects herself and explains that she had made a chocolate cream soldier that Nicola had... (full context)
Act 3
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...quick and efficient progress. Major Petkoff is lounging happily on the ottoman, reading a newspaper. Raina is relaxing on a divan under a window, staring outside with a neglected novel in... (full context)
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...the coat will not be found. Sergius says he will give an Arabian Mare to Raina if the jacket is found. Petkoff notices that Raina has barely been listening, and affectionately... (full context)
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Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
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Raina and Bluntschli are left alone. Raina tells him that the story about the night he... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
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...hearing lies and getting ones life saved is simply part of being a soldier, and Raina tells him he is incapable of a noble thought. He then tells her that when... (full context)
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Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Raina is flustered, making as if to reprimand him, and acting offended until finally she relents,... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...he thought of her portrait, and he grows confused, saying he never received a portrait. Raina reveals that she slipped a portrait of herself, with a note, into the coat pocket... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...messages to Bluntschli. Bluntschli opens one and declares it is bad news—his father is dead. Raina says this is sad news, and Bluntschli, betraying no signs of grief, says he will... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...But, he says, he loves another woman, and adds that Louka is simply jealous of Raina. Louka laughs at this and says Raina will marry Bluntschli, a man worth ten of... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...a duel. Bluntschli amusedly accepts, knowing his skill far surpasses that of the young Sergius. Raina hurries in, having overheard the confrontation, and asks them to explain. Sergius accuses Raina of... (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)... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
...a man so much as he is a “machine” and men cannot fight with machines. Raina tells him perhaps he ought to fight Nicola, who is engaged to Louka. This sets... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
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...spite of himself. But then he draws himself up and says “I am not ashamed!” Raina contemptuously remarks that Louka is not in love, she is only curious. (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Major Petkoff enters, and everyone pretends everything is normal. He is holding his jacket. Raina asks to help him put it on, and as she does, takes her portrait from... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
...Sergius says he will marry Louka, and Bluntschli congratulates them. Catherine is aghast. Louka, calling Raina by her first name, says that Raina will not be hurt by this, for she... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
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...from his father he has inherited a great fortune, and would be a good husband. Raina insists she will not be bought, saying she did not give candy to the “Emperor... (full context)