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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
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Scene 7 Summary

As planned, Christian stands under Roxane's balcony and repeats the words that Cyrano tells him from his hiding place in the darkness. Although it is a wonderful figurative speech about love and its effects, Roxane is not pleased with its delivery. Christian speaks very haltingly, for he must constantly wait for Cyrano's prompting. Realizing what is happening, Cyrano, still under the cover of darkness, takes over. He imitates Christian's voice and gives full vent to his great passion in brilliant poetic imagery. In the end, he gives a sincere confession of his great love and what he would do for Roxane. She responds by declaring her intoxication for him. At this point, Christian jumps back in and asks for a kiss. Roxane responds by drawing back.

The awkwardness of the moment is relieved when suddenly the pages play their warning music. Since it seems to be both a happy and sad tune at once, Cyrano fails to understand whether the person approaching is a man or a woman. He understands, however, when he sees a Capuchin monk, a rather sexless figure, coming towards him.


Notes

This humorous balcony scene, filled with dramatic irony, has become quite famous. Cyrano hides in the darkness marvelously expressing his true emotions for Roxane. His speech is filled with sensory images and comparisons, such as calling his heart a bell. It is Christian, however, who delivers the words of love to Roxane. Of course, since he has to wait for Cyrano's prompting, Christian's delivery of the message is very poor; he continually halts and hesitates. Not able to stand his own words being butchered, Cyrano jumps in. Disguising his voice to sound like Christian, he actually tells Roxane how he feels for her. Roxane, of course, thinks it is Christian speaking. Roxane is intoxicated by Cyrano's lovely words and expresses her feelings of love. Sadly, the words of love are aimed at Christian.

The irony of the scene is obvious. Cyrano has longed to woo Roxane, whom he dearly loves, but he is too ashamed of his ugly appearance to approach her. Now he has the golden opportunity to speak his true emotions from the heart - first with Christian as the mouthpiece and then using his own disguised voice. He has dreamed about being able to express his love directly to Roxane, but he never believed it would happen. Now that he is speaking to her, even though it under cover of darkness and hypocrisy, he gets carried away.

It is surprising that a close analysis of Cyrano's words reveal that he is skeptical of the ability of language to convey emotions. Half way through his romantic discourse he calls it "daintily sipping stale sentimentality from ornate golden cups" and tries to turn to "fresher things" from the river of love. Rostand, through Cyrano, shows that he is well aware of some of the trite images he has used, and his purpose seems to be as much to educate the audience about pretentious language as to turn Roxane's attention from sentimentality to a deeper more sincere expression of emotion.

Just as the scene seems to reach excess, the talented Rostand makes Christian interrupt. He shocks Roxane by asking her for a kiss, which she refuses to give. The awkwardness of the moment is cleverly dispelled by the re-entry of the musical pages. When they see a Capuchin monk approaching, they want to play a musical warning, as they promised they would do; however, since they cannot decide whether to play a happy song, indicating a female, or a sad song, indicating a male, they play a song that is both happy and sad. Cyrano is totally confused until he sees the monk approaching. He then understands the mixed signal of the musicians.

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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

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