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Scene 10 and 11 Summary
When Roxane opens the window again, Cyrano resumes talking in Christian's voice, giving a charming dissertation on a kiss. Roxane is so stirred by the words that she wants Christian to immediately come up and give her that "matchless flower... of communion." Cyrano pushes Christian up towards the balcony so Christian can kiss the true love of them both.
Cyrano interrupts Roxane and Christian, for the monk is returning, as signaled by the pages. Roxane offers to come down and see the monk, who is angry for being misled by Cyrano. The monk has been trying to find Roxane, for he has a letter for her, written and sent by De Guiche.
Roxane reads the letter. De Guiche explains that he has not gone to Arras; instead, he has stayed behind in order to visit with Roxane, who is horrified at the news. She decides to do something rash. She will take advantage of the moment and the monk's presence. She tells the monk that the letter instructs him to marry her to Christian at once, for Cardinal Richelieu has ordered it. She pretends to oppose the idea and seems to be reluctant to go into the house to be married. Of course, she has really masterminded the whole thing.
As she enters the house for the wedding, Roxane turns to Cyrano and asks him to delay De Guiche's arrival.
The dramatic irony of the play continues to build in these scenes. While expounding on the meaning of a kiss in Christian's voice, Cyrano is really declaring his own love for Roxane. He states that a kiss is "a seal on the pact that has already been signed" and "a secret told to the mouth rather than the ear." He then speaks of a kiss as "the hush of eternity" and the "fragrance of a flower," word images that reveal how Cyrano can fuse the senses into a total experience of sound and smell.
The words of Cyrano, spoken by Christian, are so moving that Roxane calls Christian to come up on her balcony and give her a kiss at once. The kind Cyrano, whose heart must be breaking, gives Christian a boost to get up on the balcony so he can seal his love for Roxane. As the handsome couple embraces, Cyrano vicariously experiences the kiss, knowing that Roxane is rewarding Christian because of Cyrano's words. He also accepts the inevitability of an attraction between this handsome man and woman.
Neither Cyrano nor Christian is prepared for what happens next. When the monk returns and gives Roxane a letter from De Guiche, she cleverly comes up with an astounding plan. Although the letter states that De Guiche has not gone to Arras in order to be with Roxane, she tells the monk that the letter states that she should marry Christian immediately, on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu. She proves she is a good actress, for she pretends to be very reluctant to go inside and have the monk carry out the orders. The simple-minded monk is tricked once again. He goes inside to perform the ceremony while Cyrano waits outside to delay De Guiche, as Roxane has asked him to do.
It is not perfectly clear why Roxane decides to marry Christian in haste. Although the words of Cyrano and the kiss of Christian have raised her to a feverish pitch, she is normally a clever and intelligent woman. Unless love has totally clouded her mind, it must be assumed that she is frightened by the intentions of De Guiche, whom she knows is a very powerful man who usually gets his way. By marrying Christian, she can put a real roadblock in De Guiche's plans for her. And of course, she has always found Christian extremely attractive, ever since the moment she first laid eyes on him in the theater in the first act.