The roles of Major Petkoff and Catherine in Arms and the Man

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Major Petkoff and Catherine are typical secondary characters, with funny occasional opinions and repetitive comments, such as those of the “electric bell” or the so famous unique “library” in all Bulgaria. They are characters that would normally be used to lower the tension in different types of plays. Yet, Arms and the Man, is a comedy and hence not many high-tension scenes are found. Their role additionally, adds more humour to the play, especially in those dull scenes where humour is expected to be used in order to break down the monologues, to change the subject or merely to accelerate the pace by altering the tone used.

Yet, their role is much more extensive. Catherine Petkoff for instance, also supports her daughter with everything she says or does, even to the point of lying to his husband about the “chocolate cream soldier” and accepting a “refugee” in her house. Probably due to a great and impressive mother-daughter relationship, yet, it is also possible that Raina is constantly controlling her mother for her own purposes, as she later accepts that she uses the “noble and the thrilling voice” which her parents “believe in”. Either way, the role Catherine is very clear; she is a supporting character.

Moreover, we can also appreciate through Catherine, why Raina is the way she is, so conceded, as a direct result of her mother’s attitude. It seems to some extent, that Raina is not permitted to grow up as she was raised in a perfect ‘bubble’ which does not let her admire the “real world”. Hence, she is forced to act and pretend to be somebody she is not, in order to get what she wants.

Yet, Catherine appears to be shallower than Raina in respect to the romantic ideas of war and heroism. At least Raina is conscious that these ideas might have come from reading too much novels by “Byron and Pushkin”, however, Catherine convinces her wrong. Moreover, Catherine is a character that does not only believe in heroic acts and...
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