Arms and the Man is a comedy by Bernard Shaw, whose title comes from the opening words of Virgil's Aeneid in Latin: "Arma virumque cano" (Arms and the man I sing).
The play was first produced on April 21, 1894 and was one of Shaw's first commercial successes. He was called onto stage after the curtain, where he received enthusiastic applause. However, amidst the cheers, one audience member booed. Shaw replied, in characteristic fashion: "My dear fellow, I quite agree with you, but what are we two against so many?"
The comedy of the play is based on contrasting characters, unexpected turns of events, irony, wit and satire. It deals with the themes of war and marriage, where romantic illusions can lead to disastrous outcomes. Although set in South East Europe the characters have recognisably British traits and like many of Shaw's plays Arms and the Man delivers a social criticism tempered by fine comedy.