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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
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Notes

There is wonderful dramatic irony in scene 8 when Roxane tries to explain her love for Christian. She believes that she is reassuring her husband when she tells him about her spiritual love for him and promises that she would love him even if he were ugly. Her words make Christian miserable, for he knows that Roxane really unbeknowingly loves the soul of Cyrano, not his soul.

Roxane reveals greater depth in this scene than in previous ones. She apologizes to Christian for at first only loving him for being handsome. Now, because of the letters, she realizes that his soul is more beautiful than his face. She has risked her life to come to her husband and tell him the depth of her feelings for him. In her discussion, Roxane tries to justify her actions by alluding to Penelope (in the Greek epic, The Odyssey), who symbolizes patience and fidelity. She claims that "Penelope wouldn't have stayed at home with her weaving if her Lord Ulysses had written to her as you have written to me." In the end, the most important thing that emerges about Roxane is her great capacity to love.

The inferiority complexes of Christian and Cyrano are further developed in these scenes. Christian is convinced that Roxane will never really love him, for he is incapable of high words and thoughts like the ones Cyrano has expressed to her. He confesses to Cyrano that Roxane is really in love with him, for she loves the author of the letters. Cyrano, however, still does not believe that Roxane can ever love him because of his physical ugliness. In truth, because of his appearance he judges himself to be unworthy of her beauty.

If tragedy is made up of anti-heroes whose only redeeming factor is that they come to a realization of their place in the world and an understanding of a fundamental truth, Christian qualifies as a tragic anti-hero. He accepts that he has lost Roxane and is willing to giver her to Cyrano, who has earned her love through the letters. He shows his generous spirit when he asks Cyrano, "Would I kill your happiness because I am handsome? It is unjust." His suggestion is to let the intelligent Roxane choose which man she prefers. If she was earlier speaking the truth, she will clearly choose Cyrano, for the soul is now more important to her than the face.


By the end of the scene, Cyrano becomes the tragic hero of the play. Although he is on the verge of winning Roxane for himself when the truth is told, Christian's death strips him of the chance. Cyrano knows that he can never tell Roxane that he was the author of the letters. Since she has lost her husband, she needs to believe that he was the one with the noble soul and thoughts. The noble Cyrano also sees to it that Christian dies with the belief that everything has been told to Roxane and she loves him alone.

In his disappointment, Cyrano is restless to go and fight, in an effort to avenge the death of Christian and the surrender of his own happiness. He sees to it that Ragueneau prepares the carriage for Roxane's departure. Then in a moment of supreme irony, he entrusts Roxane to the care of De Guiche, who has finally proven his valor on the battlefield.

It is ironic that at the end of this climatic act, Cyrano is once again the aggressive Gascon, a reflection of the man he was at the very beginning of the play. The wheel has turned full circle, and the cyclic pattern of the play's structure, from aggression and violence to tenderness and love and back to aggressive fighting, is obvious. Although there is another act in the play, the dramatic action has really concluded. Only the denouement remains, where the audience will learn what becomes of Cyrano and Roxane.

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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

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