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Scenes 3, 4, 5 and 6 Summary
Before Roxane and her governess depart for the meeting at Clomire's, she asks Cyrano to tell Christian to await her return. Cyrano asks Roxane what subject she desires Christian to discuss today. She says that she wants him to speak about love, but Cyrano must not let Christian know. Of course, Cyrano tries to prepare Christian for the speech as usual. This time, however, Christian rebels against presenting a borrowed speech, wanting to express his own thoughts.
Roxane soon returns from Clomire's, for she has missed the discourse on tenderness. She invites Christian to sit on the bench outside her house and elaborate on his sentiment of love. He fails miserably. Roxane, thinking he is being foolish, is displeased with him. She leaves Christian alone on the bench and enters her house.
Cyrano, who has been eavesdropping, comes up to Christian and sarcastically congratulates him. Christian, in utter despair, asks for Cyrano's help in wooing Roxane; but it is too late to train Christian in an appropriate speech. Cyrano, however, comes up with another plan. Christian should stand under Roxane's balcony. Hiding in the darkness out of sight, Cyrano will whisper to Christian what he should say. Christian agrees to the plan.
The musical pages appear with their lutes. Cyrano puts them on guard duty. They are to play a happy melody if a woman is approaching and a sad one if a man appears. Then Cyrano throws some pebbles at Roxane's window and tells Christian to call her.
Rostand cleverly reveals the methodology that Christian and Cyrano employ to trick Roxane. Cyrano tries to find out from Roxane what mood she is in and what she would like to discuss with Christian. He then coaches the handsome cadet on what to say. Christian, however, is tired of giving canned speeches to his true love. He rebels and says he wants to talk about the subject of love with Roxane on his own. Not surprisingly, he is a miserable failure. In fact, his performance is so pathetic than he seems almost comic.
When Christian cannot express himself, Roxane feels he is being foolish and loses interest in him. Desperate to make amends to her, Christian asks for Cyrano's help. The clever Cyrano, who has no time to coach Christian in an appropriate speech, comes up with an alternative plan. From a hiding place in the darkness, he will whisper to Christian what to say as he stands below Roxane's window. Christian agrees to the plan.
The vacillation of Christian's feelings for Cyrano is an effective dramatic device that draws the audience closer to Cyrano. When Christian rejects Cyrano's offer of help in preparing a speech about love, the audience is meant to judge Christian as foolish and unappreciative even though they accept that he is only trying to maintain some measure of self-respect. Then when he grovels and asks for Cyrano's help in winning Roxane back, Christian is meant to be judged as weak and pathetic, while Cyrano is seen as generous and helpful.