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Act IV The Gascon Cadets
Scene I Summary
The scene is set in the evening at a post outside of Arras. It opens with a dialogue between Captain Carbon de Castel-Jaloux and Le Bret in which they indicate that the besieged French troops are miserable, depressed, and hungry. Since the Spanish troops have cut off their supplies, the French have no food.
Cyrano seems to be the only one in camp that is not miserable. He is still awake even though most of the cadets are sleeping, for he has just traveled through the Spanish line in order to dispatch a letter to Roxane, as he does everyday. The letters that he writes give him great pleasure.
This scene is a total contrast to the earlier light, humorous scenes. It gives Background Information about what has happened at Arras between the time of the last scene, set at Roxane's house, and this scene, set at the Gascon camp outside of Arras. The Spanish troops have encircled the French and cut off their supplies, including food. The French soldiers are now miserable and hungry, and Carbon and Le Bret look particularly weak. Cyrano alone manages to be his usual self because he gets satisfaction in writing to Roxane. He also finds excitement in risking his life by crossing the enemy line in order to mail the letters back to Roxane. The irony is that the letters are supposedly written by Christian, so Cyrano gets no credit for them.