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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
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Notes

This scene is very significant, for it pits Cyrano against De Guiche. The personal rivalry between them, which is largely caused by their attraction to Roxane, is brought to a head. When Cyrano disgraces De Guiche by publicly pointing out his cowardice, he and the other cadets must pay the consequences. De Guiche gives a signal for the Spanish to attack the cadets.

It is not just Cyrano who dislikes De Guiche. When he arrives in the camp, the cadets totally ignore him, for they have no respect for the man, who is more a courtier than a soldier. The cadets, led by Cyrano, stand for openness, courage, confrontation, sacrifice and daring. In contrast, De Guiche is a cunning strategist who prefers deception and spies to fighting. Cyrano contrasts him to Henry IV, who told his soldiers that if they lost their banners they should follow the white plume in his helmet because he would never forsake the path of honor and glory. De Guiche knows nothing of honor and glory.


The audience is made to feel total disgust for De Guiche as a villain. The respect that the audience may have felt on seeing him suffer from the same pangs of hunger as the cadets is nullified by his vindictive condemnation of the cadets to certain death. Cyrano knows that De Guiche is really seeking revenge against Christian and himself, for they betrayed and tricked De Guiche by plotting and planning the marriage of Roxane when De Guiche had his own plans for her. Cyrano points out that De Guiche's desire for revenge is made more pathetic by his attempt to say he has ordered the attack on the cadets in order to serve the king. It is clear that he is only a powerful and selfish man who thinks only of himself.

The dialogue at the end of Scene 4 about the farewell letter to Roxane is important. It becomes a major motif in Act V. Here, however, it serves to reveal Cyrano's preparedness and sensitivity. It also serves as a bridge to the actual appearance of Roxane in the Gascon camp.

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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

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