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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
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PLOT (Structure)

Based on an historical character, Cyrano de Bergerac, which belongs to the genre of Romantic drama, chronologically portrays the exploits of the heroic protagonist and follows the classic pattern of dramatic plot development. The action of the plot is built up through the first four acts. The first act is largely introductory. It is devoted to a development of the setting and an introduction to the key characters. Most important, the first act reveals the essential characteristics of Cyrano and identifies the motivating factor of his life his great secret passion for his cousin Roxane. The act ends on a dramatic note of anticipation. When he receives a message from Roxane asking for a meeting, he decides he will tell her how he feels about her.

In the second act, which is full of comic reversals, the rising action moves sharply upward. When Cyrano meets with Roxane, she declares her love for Christian, dashing Cyrano's hopes. She also asks for his help in bringing the two of them together and entrusts Christian to Cyrano's care. In her naiveté, she is sure that her cousin will want to help her to win Christian. She is also certain that Christian's thoughts and emotions are as handsome as his face. She has no idea that the young man has no ability to express himself with gallantry or poetic feeling. Wanting to make Roxane happy, Cyrano volunteers to help Christian woo the beautiful woman that both of them love. His proposal -- to provide the voice behind Christian's good looks -- becomes the base plan for the inevitable complications, both comic and pathetic, that follow.


Act III shows Cyrano's plan being carried out to perfection. Cyrano supplies Christian with the words to express his love for Roxane. She is so enthralled by his noble thoughts and words that she falls quickly and deeply in love with the handsome cadet. They marry almost immediately. De Guiche, who wanted Roxane as his mistress, has been outwitted by the marriage. To get his revenge, he sends Christian, along with the rest of his regiment, to fight in the Battle of Arras. Since Christian is told to leave for the front immediately, he is not even able to consummate his marriage. The third act ends with mixed emotions. Christian and Roxane are crushed about being separated. Cyrano, however, is happy that he has achieved what he wanted; he has expressed his love to Roxane, although only vicariously. Now he can go and prove his heroism in war and write love letters back to Roxane under the guise of Christian.

Act IV begins with Cyrano's absorption in writing of his love to Roxane in letters that he signs as her husband. He then risks his life on a daily basis by crossing enemy lines to dispatch the letters. His words strike Roxane's heart so deeply that she feels compelled to risk her life and come to the front to be with Christian. Cyrano is shocked to see her. He will now be forced to tell Christian about the letters he has been sending to Roxane without his permission. Christian, tired of living a pretense, wants the truth to be revealed to his wife. Then Roxane can choose between Christian's beauty or Cyrano's brain. Before Cyrano can explain the situation to Roxane, the climax of the play occurs Christian is mortally wounded by the first shot fired in the battle. Now Cyrano can never tell Roxane the truth; he must allow her to believe the best of her deceased husband.

The last act, which is anticlimactic, contains the falling action and conclusion of the play.

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MonkeyNotes-Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

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