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The main theme is that deception always causes problems. In an effort to try and make Roxane happy, Cyrano agrees to give Christian the words and thoughts to woo the beautiful woman. The deceptive plan works so well that Roxane soon marries Christian.
Unfortunately, before the marriage can be consummated, the jealous De Guiche sends both Christian and Cyrano off to fight in the Battle of Arras. Cyrano decides to continue his deception. Without Christian's knowledge, he writes a love letter to Roxane everyday and dares to cross enemy lines to post the letter. Of course, each letter is signed as Christian, even though it expresses the love of Cyrano for Roxane. The letters cause Roxane to realize that she loves Christian for his poetic soul rather than for his handsome appearance. She feels behooved to go to the battlefront and confess her new and deeper love to her husband. When she arrives at the Gascon camp, Cyrano panics. He knows that Roxane will say something to Christian about the letters, and he will be caught in his deception. As a result, he confesses to Christian. Roxane also confesses her new love for Christian. She tells him that she now loves his inner being, not his handsome face. Because of this confession, Christian realizes that she really loves Cyrano, the author of the letters. He decides that Cyrano must tell Roxane the truth and make her decide between Cyrano and Christian. Unfortunately, before this can happen, Christian is killed by the first shot of the battle. As a result, Cyrano can never undo his deception. He looses Roxane forever, for she goes to live in a convent and grieve over the loss of her noble and poetic husband.
The development of true love is another major theme of the play. From the beginning, Cyrano genuinely and deeply loves Roxane for her goodness and intelligence, as well as for her beauty. He is, however, afraid to confess his love to her because of his ugliness. He feels certain that she could never love him in return. Ironically, during the course of the play, Roxane falls in love with Cyrano without knowing it. She marries Christian because of his good looks, but she learns to truly love him because of the nobleness of his spirit, as expressed in the love letters. Since the letters are written by Cyrano, she has really fallen in love with him. Unfortunately, because of Christian's death, Cyrano can never tell Roxane the truth about the letters; and Roxane can never really love the right person.
A key minor theme is the condemnation of the state of the arts in seventeenth century French society. The play satirizes both the quality of the theatrical performances and the patrons, who seek spectacle rather than content. It also satirizes the shallowness of the poetry of the time, the opportunistic greed of the poets, and the foolishly adoring public, who accepts third-rate verse.
The mood of the play fluctuates between brilliant gaiety and somber darkness. Cyrano's wit dazzles and his poetry charms; but the ugliness of his physical features and his deception cast a pall over the entire drama. The darkness grows deeper as Christian is killed, Cyrano's hopes are destroyed, and Roxane withdraws to a convent.