The success of Arms and the Man
has been consistent right from its first production in 1894. The original staging of the play was so well received that Shaw's reputation as one of the greatest wits in the London drama scene was almost instantly established. Shaw himself, present at the opening performance, was actually dissappointed in the response of the audience.
It is true that Arms and the Man is a comedy, but it is also about war. The setting of the play is in war-torn Bulgaria, and focusses not only on the romance between the young people of the play, but the atrocities that go on during war times and the ability of people not so very far removed from these atrocities to ignore them completely.