Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Act III Roxane's Kiss
Scene 1 Summary
When this scene opens, Ragueneau is talking to Roxane's governess about what has happened to him. The audience learns that Lise has run off with the musketeer. Ragueneau was so upset by her desertion that he tired to hang himself. Cyrano, however, saved him and made arrangements for him to become a steward for Roxane.
The governess is impatiently waiting for Roxane. The two of them are going to a Clomire's salon, where a discourse on the "Tender Passion" is to be read. As Roxane delays, Cyrano enters with two pages playing lutes. He explains he has won the musicians for a day in a bet with d'Assoucy about a point of grammar; but he finds the musicians very annoying, for they do not play correctly. As a result, he sends them off to irritate Montfleury.
After the musicians have left, Cyrano asks Roxane how things are going with Christian. She claims to love him dearly, explaining that he is not only handsome but also brilliant. She adds that his mind seems to be even sharper than that of Cyrano, for he says truly beautiful things to her. Cyrano does not miss a beat, but reacts with incredulity to her claims. To prove her point that he is a "master of eloquence," Roxane shows Cyrano one of Christian's letters. The dramatic irony is evident. Cyrano and the audience know that it is Cyrano who has written the letter.
The governess comes in to warn that De Guiche is approaching. Roxane asks Cyrano to hide inside her house.
Rostand creates the musketeer as a very negative character. In the last scene, he was foolish enough to inappropriately insult Cyrano's nose. Now he has run off with the wife of Cyrano's friend. Ragueneau is so upset by Lise's desertion that he tries to kill himself. Cyrano, the play's hero, saves Ragueneau and finds him a new position as the steward of Roxane. Ragueneau's comment that Mars was using what Apollo was leaving behind in his shop is significant. It implies that the musketeer, a man of war, ironically learned the art of love from the poets, who Ragueneau encouraged in his bakery. In a similar manner, Christian is learning the art of love from Cyrano.
In this scene, Cyrano's character is further developed as a very well-rounded man. He has already been presented as an able swordsman, a strong fighter, a military leader, an intelligent thinker, a poet, a spokesman who has great control of the language, and a kind and sensitive human being. Now Cyrano reveals that he has an interest in and knowledge of music, a mastery of grammar, and a strong mathematical ability. He also has a sense of humor, for he sends the annoying musicians away to irritate Montfleury, the second rate actor who irritates him.
When Cyrano asks Roxane about Christian, she is full of praise for him, saying he is as intelligent as he is handsome. Since Cyrano does not seem to believe her, she reads some of Christian's letter to Cyrano to prove that he is truly bright and eloquent. Cyrano totally enjoys hearing "his" letters being praised. Of course, he gives no hint to Roxane that he has composed the letters that Christian has sent as his own. The irony of the situation is masterfully developed.