Cyrano de Bergerac

353

Cyrano de Bergerac: Role Model and a Tragic Hero 

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

There are many personality traits that an author can choose for their characters to embody. One author may want their character to be a tragic hero because they want a more somber storyline and want to evoke sad emotions and pity from the audience rather than having a typical happy ending. Another trait that an author can choose could be to make the character a role model. The author might choose this because he or she wants the audience to be presented with a good example of how a person should behave. Taking these two examples into consideration, both a tragic hero and a role model are two accurate ways that the protagonist of the drama Cyrano de Bergerac can be described. Even though these two representations are heavily contrasted with each other, author Edmond Rostand does a great job of managing the both of them and keeping them balanced throughout the story without letting one over power the other. Rostand uses direct characterization and actions to make protagonist Cyrano both a tragic hero and a role model at the same time in order to evoke pity from the audience in certain scenes to make Cyrano seen as a relatable role model rather than only a tragic hero.

For starters, Cyrano exhibits each of the main characteristics that a tragic hero must possess in order to truly be considered a tragic hero. For example, Cyrano possesses an immoderate amount of confidence throughout most of the drama. This is clearly shown when he describes his poetry by saying, “When I write something that I like, I reward the author by reciting it to myself.” (Rostand 88; 2.7). Here you can clearly see the amount of pride he takes in the things he does. Cyrano also possesses a tragic flaw, being his insecurities about his looks, making him not want to confess his strong feelings towards a girl named Roxane. Roxane and Cyrano meet in a shop and Roxane starts to talk about a man she loves. She goes on to describe him by saying, “His face shines with wit and intelligence. He’s proud, noble, young, fearless, handsome…” (Rostand 77; 2.6). Up until she said “handsome” both Cyrano and us as the audience believed that she was describing Cyrano. This is one of the first times in the drama that we feel pity towards Cyrano after seeing that he has weak self confidence and the woman he loves does not love him back. Due to his insecurities, Cyrano starts to demonstrate a lack of judgement. After Cyrano finally learns the man she loves’ name is Christian and meets him in person, he learns that Christian is very bad at expressing himself in words making Cyrano offer to write Roxane letters in place if Christian so that Cyrano himself can actually express his own feelings towards Roxane without her knowing it is him. This and his immoderate amount of pride later leads to his downfall. Cyrano’s symbolic downfall in this story happens because he holds in his feelings for Roxane. In the sense, he chose his own fate of being alone because he was too insecure about his looks to fully open up to Roxane about his feelings for her. Once again, us as the audience are expected to feel a sense of pity towards Cyrano because he is in an unfortunate situation that we do not wish him to be in. However, Cyrano’s literal downfall in the story is when he is attacked by one of his many enemies and slowly bleeds to death. This very specific order of events and characteristics is what truly makes Cyrano a Tragic Hero.

Along with being a Tragic Hero, Cyrano is also considered to be a role model because of his actions and words throughout the story. The most effective way to know if someone is a role model or not is to understand how others feel about that person. As we are shown in the beginning of the book when the other characters are talking about what type of person Cyrano is by saying things like, “He’s an extraordinary man, isn’t he?” and “[He’s] the most delightful under the sun!” we can infer that Cyrano is a very well respected man and is viewed highly among the people (Rostand 18; 1.2). Another way Rostand portrays Cyrano as a role model is when he lets us as the audience see how loyal he is to his friends. An example of this is when Cyrano learns that one of his close friends named Ligniere has been threatened and warned not to go home because 100 men were planning on fighting him. Once Cyrano hears of this he replies, “A hundred men, you say? You’ll sleep at home tonight!” (Rostand 55; 1.7). After Cyrano says this, we later learn that he did in fact fight the 100 men alone and protect his friend. This is a prime example of how loyal Cyrano is to his friends and why Rostand would write a character like him. With these traits that were clearly shown in Cyrano throughout the drama, we as the audience can clearly see why Cyrano is also considered to be a role model.

Rostand manages to keep this balance of tragic hero and role model by making Cyrano’s tragic flaw something that the audience can sympathize over rather than something that would repulse the audience and not like Cyrano as much. Cyrano’s tragic flaw in this story is his insecurity that stops him from expressing his strong feelings towards Roxane and his lack of judgement when it comes to her. In the story, Cyrano learns that Roxane is in love with another man named Christian. This alone can be very relatable to the audience, making us feel more invested into Cyrano’s character. However, we also start to respect Cyrano even more because of the respect he shows towards Christian when he learns that he is the man that Roxane loves by helping him win her love rather than be selfish and try to split them up. Rostand is also able to keep this balance by making Cyrano possess more admirable traits than flagrant ones, making Cyrano’s version of a tragic hero kind of unique. For example, in the story, Cyrano possesses a very helpful and loyal personality. We can see this in the story when Cyrano helps protect Ligniere and fights 100 men and also when he helps Christian win Roxane’s love by writing the letters for him. By these means, we can see how making something relatable lets the audience feel “a part” of the story and lets us better understand what some characters are feeling more in depth making us sympathize about what the tragic hero is going through. Knowing how Rostand manages to keep Cyrano’s balance of a tragic hero and a role model lets us better understand how truly complex Cyrano is as a character.

To conclude, Rostand’s intent in making Cyrano a role model and a tragic hero was to show the audience that people are very complicated beings. We all portray good behavior and bad behavior from time to time. Rostand wanted to show how Cyrano is not so different from all of us because we all have our internal struggles. He wanted to explain that tragedy isn’t so much the physical things, it’s not dealing with them just like what Cyrano did when it came to Roxane. He was so insecure with one small part of his being that he could not reveal his truth. With this, he ends up dying without his truth being truly revealed or lived out. Rostand wanted to illustrate that there are times when we as people are tragic heroes and there are times when we are role models.

Read more

213

Three Interpretations of Cyrano de Bergerac

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

There have been many interpretations of Edmund Rostand’s play “Cyrano de Bergerac”, but three versions stand out. Kevin Kline portrayed Cyrano in a stage production of the play in 2008, French actor Gérard Depardieu depicted him in a 1990 French movie adaptation, and in 1950 Jose Ferrer played Cyrano in a movie adaptation, for which he won an Oscar. All three actors offer different characterizations of Cyrano, although many of Cyrano’s main traits (particularly his large nose) remain. The balcony scene is a clear example of how differently these actors have interpreted the character.

Kevin Kline’s 2008 stage adaption takes a comedic approach to the character of Cyrano and the play as a whole. Since he is performing for a live audience, he acts in a way that will bring out the most laughter, as he is feeding off their immediate reactions. He does this with an over exaggerated acting style, and using his facial expressions and body language to emphasize the comedy. An example of this is when Kline’s Cyrano makes fun of Christian’s stupidity. When Christian is trying to call Roxane onto the balcony, he yells her name abruptly. Kline stares at him in disbelief and smiles, putting his index finger to his head to imply that Christian is not very bright. Throughout the scene, Kline continues to draw out laughter from the audience with his witty lines (“by the sound of it a woman and a man! Oh, I see what they mean…a priest”). They also add extra lines in this production to heighten the comedy. When Cyrano wins the kiss for Christian, Cyrano asks, “what are you waiting for?” to which Christian, who was so eager for the kiss moments before, nervously responds “I’m not sure now is really the right time”. This line is not in the original play, but is added in this stage adaptation to get laughs. Similarly, in this interpretation Christian uses Cyrano as a mount to climb up the balcony, which was not in the original play.

However, in this scene Kline steps away from the comedy to show Cyrano’s softer, sensitive side. During his balcony speech, his love for Roxane is powerful and sincere. He manages to shed a tear during one point of his speech, and stares at Roxane lovingly throughout. Although Kline’s performance is based on a comical interpretation of the play, he manages to have a sincere moment in this scene.

Gérard Depardieu depicts the character of Cyrano in the 1990 French movie “Cyrano de Bergerac”. Depardieu stays close to the play’s description of Cyrano, however he lacks the amount of passion the character requires. Staying true to the text, Depardieu maintains Cyrano’s mastery of words (‘How shall we define a kiss?…the O of love on waiting lips…a way to know the other’s heart and touch the portals of his soul!”). However, as he delivers these lines there is no change in the tone of his voice. Depardieu underplays Cyrano and it is therefore hard to believe he loves Roxane. At the end of the balcony scene, he walks away and turns back to look at Roxane and Christian as they embrace. He doesn’t recite the ‘my words, my kiss’ speech, which is an important part in most interpretations as it shows Cyrano in a state of despair. The director adds rain to the scene to give it a melancholy tone, but without the speech Cyrano is not as heartbroken as he should be. However, the movie version is in French, so it does stay true to the original text of the play in that sense. The words seem to flow much better than English translations.

Jose Ferrer’s 1950 portrayal of Cyrano shows a dramatic interpretation of the character with his strong, physical presence. Like Depardieu, Ferrer also conveys Cyrano to be a wonderful, passionate speaker (“And what is a kiss when all is done?…A moment made immortal with a rush of wings unseen…A new song sung by two hearts to an old simple tune”). He is comical at times when he corrects Christian (Christian points to Cyrano instead of Roxanne when he is speaking to her). However, it is not as over emphasized as Kline’s comedic performance. It is Ferrer’s strong, physical presence that sets him apart from the other interpretations. The audience can see that Cyrano is in love with Roxane, as Ferrer’s body language mirrors his emotive words. He uses big, theatrical gestures when needed, and his voice rises and falls with the intensity of his words. Ferrer maintains the prideful nature of Cyrano after he wins the kiss for Christian (“Since it must be, I would rather myself be the cause”). The audience is made to feel sympathetic for him, as he acts completely defeated after the kiss. Sadness takes over him as he supports himself on a wall, closing his eyes when he realizes what he has accomplished (“I spoke the words that won her. She kisses my words. My words…upon his lips”). Jose Ferrer’s portrayal of Cyrano is powerful, and stays close to Rostand’s Cyrano in the original play.

In all three interpretations, the fundamental aspects of Cyrano’s character are there – his wit, mastery of words, and outlandishly large nose. However, these three actors portrayed the character of Cyrano using their own interpretations. Kline opted for a comedic approach, Depardieu underplays Cyrano but preserves flow through the French language, and Ferrer uses a dramatic style that worked well with his strong presence.

Read more

213

How Edmond Rostand Uses Static Characters (Based on Cyrano De Bergerac)

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Static Characters in Cyrano de Bergerac

Character development is an author’s way of showing how a character changes their beliefs and ideals in response to new conflicts or ideas. Static characters , unlike dynamic characters, are those who do not show a large amount of development, if any at all, and are used by authors to show humanity’s flaws. Examples of static characters are sometimes portrayed as an enemy who the protagonist has to defeat, such as a supervillain who never learns why it is wrong to kill innocent civilians and ends up being stopped by some hero, usually one with powers that go past the realms of man. In the play Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand, Rostand uses static characters to develop the story. The play is focused on the protagonist , Cyrano de Bergerac, as he fights both his physical enemies and inner demons. Cyrano’s fighting, or rather lack of fighting, with his flaws shows how an absence of growth can affect an individual’s ability to reach their human potential. Cyrano’s lack of development in certain traits show how he fails to grow as a person, and reveals Rostand’s mixed views on people who cannot take in new beliefs and ideas.

Cyrano’s incapability of accepting his own appearance throughout the play, and his entire life, leads him to never taking risks and not becoming the best possible version of himself he could have been. For example, in Act I after Cyrano has defeated Valvert in their duel and is now talking to Le Bret about his love for Roxane, Le Bret urges Cyrano to tell Roxane of that very love. Cyrano meekly responds by saying “I long for Cleopatra — do I look like Caesar?” (26). Cyrano’s own insecurities about his physical beauty prevents him from confessing to Roxane, a risk which had the potential to earn him happiness. Another quote that exemplifies Cyrano’s failure to take risks due to appearance occurs in Act IV, when Christian has just found out that Roxane loves him for only his soul. Christian commands Cyrano to go tell her the whole truth about their betrayal to her, how they lied and tricked her. After Christian tells him that Roxane told him she would still love him if he were ugly since his soul shone so bright, Cyrano replies with,

Well, I am glad she told you that [she loves you only for your inner beauty].

But do not be deceived. It is a sweet

And pleasant thought — but it is just a thought.

Never accept it as a truth, and never grow

Ugly or plain. (104)

Cyrano’s insecurity about his appearance is once again preventing him from taking a risk that could potentially earn him the women of his dreams. Similarly, a last quote further exemplifies Cyrano’s insecurity during the ends of his life, while talking to Roxane after she has found out it has been him who had been loving her all these years:

No. In the fairy tales the lady says

“I love you” and the beast becomes a prince,

As beauty banishes all ugliness.

But, though you speak the magic words, this is

No fairy tale — and I remain the same. (123)

Cyrano is, again, and for the last time, putting his insecurities in front of his happiness and resorting to not allowing himself to be happy, too afraid of falling, letting people in, and getting hurt. Cyrano’s failure to be able to let people in and holding onto feelings of insecurities hold him back from taking new opportunities that would in the long run make him a happier person, able to accept love from others.

Cyrano’s inability to put aside his self pride and high standards he holds society and himself to lead to him not being the happiest he could have been. During the first act of the play right after Cyrano has forced Montfleury off the stage and banished him, a young man asks him why he hates Montfleury so much. Cyrano’s response,

Young man,

There are two reasons, each one great enough

To earn my condemnation and contempt.

First: He’s a stupid actor, mouths his words,

Chews up scenery, and beats the air

With flailing arms. He leans his weight on lines

That, otherwise, would soar in singing joy.

Second: That is my secret. (15)

exemplifies Cyrano’s heightened sense of ideals, and the standards he holds Montfleury as well as everyone else to. Cyrano’s imagery, such as his metaphors of Montfleury’s actions and characteristics, further humiliate Montfleury and show the audience the extent to which Cyrano looks down on those he feels superior to. In the same way, another quote said by Mother Margaret, even fifteen years later, further reveals Cyrano’s self pride and own standards, and how it has not changed in the slightest. While the two sisters and Mother Margaret are talking in the park about Cyrano and his boastfulness, Mother Margaret mentions that Cyrano is very poor and does not have enough money to feed himself consistently. When Sister Martha asks why Cyrano does not ask for help, Mother Margaret responds with “He is too proud; / Any assistance would be an offense” (112). Cyrano is literally killing himself just to avoid the humiliation of asking for help. His high standards of not wanting to be seen as weak or letting people help him, he is depleting himself into a starving, debilitated shell of a man. Finally, a last quote said by Le Bret confirms how Cyrano’s high standards for society ruins him. After the nuns exit, Le Bret, Roxane, and De Guiche enter and converse about Cyrano and his well being. Le Bret claims he is not well, and informs the others of the following:

All I foretold

Has now come true: neglect and poverty

And wretched solitude. But he goes on

Fighting the hypocrites of every sort;

Exposing the sham nobles, the sham priests,

Sham heroes, shameless prudes and plagiarists,

In short, the world we know! And each attack

Wins him the malice of new enemies. (113)

Le Bret is not only informing of Cyrano’s recent events, but showing also that Cyrano has not grown in the slightest regarding his pride and standards. His exposure of the fraud plagiarists and prudes speaks about his own personal feelings, and how Cyrano is once again judging people severely, and thinks himself immensely superior to them. Cyrano’s pride and high ideals which are never lowered leads him to live a shorter life filled with loneliness, despair, and weakness.

While Cyrano shows a lack of development in negative traits such as his insecurities and pridefulness, he also does not grow or develop concerning one of his positive traits — his loyalty towards friends and loved ones. One of his earliest examples of loyalty towards friends occurs in Act II after Cyrano notices Lise has been acting familiar and tenderly towards the musketeer to whom she is obviously having an affair with. Cyrano confronts Lise and accuses her of the affair. Lise does not have the chance to defend herself, as Cyrano cuts her off and finishes the conversation abruptly with “Ragueneau is my friend, Dame Lise. / I’ll see that he’s not made a laughing stock” (38). Cyrano is taking into consideration Ragueneau’s feelings, telling Lise to knock it off, but also not going and telling Ragueneau directly, knowing it would hurt him more than he could handle. Another quote that shows Cyrano’s loyalty occurs in Act III after Roxane asks Cyrano to hold off De Guiche while she marries Christian. Cyrano simply responds with an “I understand” (75). Cyrano, even though being deeply hurt by the thought that the love of his life is marrying somebody else, is helping them to tie the knot, only to make Roxane happy. His loyalty is so deep he will go to such lengths as to crush his soul, only to remain loyal to the one he loves most. The last example of Cyrano’s never changing loyalty is displayed during the final act, Act V, when Roxane refers to Cyrano as one of the only joys in her life.

Yes; [Cyrano comes to see me]

Often and punctually. He is my clock,

My comfort, and my newspaper. A chair

Is put beneath this tree when the day’s fair,

And there I wait with my embroidery.

The clock strikes. And in time with the last stroke,

I hear — I do not have to turn to see —

His cane upon the steps. (113)

Roxane is, essentially, admitting that Cyrano’s loyalty to her has kept her in good company for the past fourteen years, bringing her comfort, happiness, and a sense of self worth. Cyrano’s constant loyalty towards Roxane, which never leaves him throughout the entire course of his life, shows how a trait does not have to go through development to become something good. Cyrano stayed loyal until the day of his death, and while his growth was not present, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Cyrano’s traits, which never developed or changed, led him to live out a regretful life. In Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand, Rostand manipulates Cyrano, as well as others, to give the subliminal message that individuals who stubbornly hold on to their set ways will live an unfulfilling life. Rostand uses his characters actions and consequences of said actions as a warning to readers not to be like Cyrano, not to be closed minded and unwilling to change. However, he also emphasizes through positive traits, such as Cyrano’s loyalty, that sometimes when something is already good you should not have to alter it in any shape or form. Nevertheless, whether voiced or not, all individuals who live out their life not developing or growing at all, not taking risks or new opportunities, or not learning how to move on, will live out their last days wondering what could have been, and be filled to the brim with regret and dissatisfaction.

Read more

256

Morality Verdict: Cyrano de Bergerac Honor Version

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

“The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.” – Albert Einstein

Distinguishing between right and wrong is a skill people learn over the span of their lifetime. Individuals who choose positively rewarded options allow themselves to live with a clear conscience. Those who choose to do negatively thought out options create a guilty conscience. In the play Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmund Rostand, readers follow the story of a man who is deeply in love with a woman, however, the woman loves another man. As a result, the man agrees to help the other man “woo” the woman; these events, though somewhat slanted against Cyrano, portray the man as a heroic character. Through Cyrano’s decision to assist Christian, Rostand discusses moral principles and reveals adhering to values make one an honorable person.

Acknowledging one’s own beliefs creates a stronger self-drive to one’s moral values. Cyrano makes his first appearance in the theatre, where a citizen challenges his presence and claims Monfleury has a powerful patron and Cyrano does not. Cyrano declares he has no need for a patron and can protect himself with his sword. The citizen makes the mistake of telling Cyrano he was trying not to look at his nose, which Cyrano takes offense to. “My nose, sir, is enormous. Ignorant clod, cretinous moron a man ought to be proud, yes, proud, of having so proud an appendix of flesh and bone to crown his countenance, provided a great nose may be an index of a great soul-affable, kind, endowed with wit and liberality and courage and courtesy- like mine…” (Rostand, 28) This quote signifies that Cyrano acknowledges how his nose is a part of him. He sees his nose as a symbol of the values he stands by. For one to insult his nose is like insulting the characteristics that make him a principled being. Knowing what one believes in creates a stronger commitment to views.

Choosing actions based on value rather than personal gain takes great strength. During the siege of Arras, Roxane unexpectedly arrives and the climax unfolds. She tells Christian that she now loves him for his soul and not just his physical appearance. Christian, knowing Cyrano is his “soul,” tells Cyrano to reveal the truth to Roxane and allow her to choose between them. He then goes to into battle and is the first to be killed. Once Cyrano learns of Christian’s death, he no longer feels he can tell Roxane how he truly feels.“Something. Yes. Whatever it doesn’t matter now. Here’s something new to tell you. Christian- this I swear because it’s God’s own truth- was a great soul” (Rostand, 147). This quote reveals how Cyrano does not want to taint the memory Roxane has of Christian, and as a result he does not tell her the truth. Although honesty is one of his beliefs, he lies to Roxane and maintains the ideal man he and Christian have created.

Distinguishing between what is right and wrong is based on one’s own perspective. As Cyrano reads the letter, which was supposedly written by Christian aloud, Roxane realizes that it had been Cyrano writing the letters and it was stained with his tears. She recognizes the voice from years ago that was speaking to her from below the balcony. “His blood, though, stained by his blood” (Rostand 168) Cyrano is guilty about Christian’s death and continuously denies being in love with Roxane. He acknowledges Christian’s sacrifice and refuses to admit he has loved Roxane all these years. Cyrano admired Christian for his ability to expose his true emotions to Roxane although he could not necessarily express them himself. He believes he must remain loyal to Christian and his consistent denial of his love for Roxane serves as the evidence.

One’s virtues are depicted by taken actions. As Cyrano faces death in the final scene, he recognizes that he has lost everything. He has lost Christian, who he had considered a friend, and he has lost Roxane, whose love he had desired so much. The only thing that remains is his white plume, which represents his own personal virtues, such as his name, righteousness, and courage. “You take everything… Take them and welcome. But… there is one thing goes with me when tonight I enter my last lodging…See it there, a white plume over the battle – A diamond in the ash of the ultimate combustion – My panache” (Rostand, 174-175). Once Cyrano dies, he will be remembered for his righteousness. He recognizes this and says it is the one thing that has not been tainted throughout his entire life for he has followed through with his values. Over his lifetime Cyrano has portrayed his values through his actions and recognizes this despite the outcome of the events that took place.

In Cyrano’s mind, he must sacrifice his own happiness in order to live with himself. It takes great courage to watch the one he loves be with another. Rostand emphasizes the need of following moral values whether it is valuing honor over practicality. Putting others’ needs before his own and firmly abiding by what he believes in are the characteristics of a heroic character. To adhere to one’s beliefs even if the outcome is not as beneficial as being practical shows a dedication to the values one follows.

Read more

495

Cyrano: The Tragic Hero

April 1, 2019 by Essay Writer

Tragedies are often emotionally draining, whether they are classic or contemporary. The word itself implies heartbreak; a soldier lost at war or a ship wrecked at sea would be described as tragic. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand is entertaining story. It differs from the works of Macbeth and Oedipus because it is not strikingly sad, yet the protagonist of Cyrano de Bergerac dies a sad death after a sad life. Everyone has flaws, and maybe those flaws take too much away from our lives, but the character of Cyrano has a striking flaw, his immense fear of rejection and general insecurity. Cyrano lets this flaw invade every relationship he has, all the decisions he makes. Cyrano de Bergerac is a flawed man in a contemporary tragedy.

Cyrano de Bergerac values many things, including literature and theater. One of the first appearances that he makes is in defense of his beloved theater, to get an actor he hates of the stage. Cyrano hates this actor personally, Montfleury. It isn’t explained why Cyrano is not concerned that other people may disagree with him, for hating on Montfleury or for ruining a show. As a reader, it’s obvious that this could not make Cyrano a popular man. However, it is later explained that Cyrano enjoys making enemies (or says he does). Cyrano says, “I love when others hate me,” (page 114). Although he seems to want people to decide they don’t like him, it is apparent that he is using this as a method of self-defense, because he is so insecure that he is trying to justify the amount of people that hate him. If you want people to hate you, when they do aren’t they just doing you a favor? No matter what, Cyrano is putting himself in a situation where he is the winner, but this is out of insecurity. He makes people hate him because he hates himself.

Cyrano spends the entire story secretly in love with Roxane. Roxane values him as a friend, and by the end relies on him every day. During the time in between, she falls in love with his writing to her. Even after Roxane’s lover, and the man he was pretending to write as, is dead, Cyrano doesn’t tell her how he feels or that he was the one she fell in love with. Cyrano spends fifteen years trying to stay close to Roxane even after he stops writing the letters. If Cyrano had ended up with Roxane, he wouldn’t have become the unhappy, lonely man that he died as. Cyrano’s downfall was because he held in this secret. He let himself be alone by not going for the woman he loved, and he let his loneliness make him even more cynical, and that ate him away. This was entirely because he was too insecure and afraid of rejection. When his best friend, Le Bret, suggests that he tell the women, for whom he has such passion, the truth, he rejects it. Cyrano says, “My old friend—look at me, and tell me how much hope remains for me with this protuberance!” (page 48). He specially blames his reasoning for keeping his love a secret on his insecurity of his nose, his tragic flaw.

Cyrano’s literal death is due to an “accident” that De Guiche alludes to in a conversation with Le Bret. De Guiche says, The other day at Court, such a one said to me: “This man Cyrano may die—accidentally,” (page ). Cyrano has already made it apparent that many people hate him, and apparently enough to lead to his death. Cyrano is already an impoverished, miserable man at this point because of combination of his choices with Roxane and with other people. Once again, this is because Cyrano is so insecure that he destroys his relationships with other people. Had it not been for his insecurities, his tragic flaw, he would not have had this eventual downfall and this sad death. He was killed because of the way he interacts with people, making them enemies, which he does out of insecurity.

Cyrano is a likable character that teaches a lesson of self love and bravery. It’s difficult to read such a tragic story and not believe that he is a tragic character, having lead a lonely life and having died a miserable death. Cyrano de Bergerac is a story about a man who is too insecure to make the right decisions and this leads to his downfall. This tragedy inspires self-reflection in the same way that tragedies like Macbeth strengthen morals and real tragic events inspire unity.

Read more

587

A Feminist Critique of Cyrano de Bergerac

January 29, 2019 by Essay Writer

In Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac, there are few female characters, and even fewer of importance, with Roxanne being the only main female character. However, by taking an in-depth look at how she is portrayed through her actions, speech, and the thoughts of the other characters on her, one can deduce the book’s take on women. The greatest factors of interest taken when assessing the disposition of the novel are Roxane’s displayed intellect, her ability of choice when it came to suitors, and the drastic effect and influence men, through love, had on her.

The main thing Roxane has going for her is her looks. She is described by Cyrano as “A mortal danger, without intention; charming without thought. A trap by nature set, a damask rose in which, close hid in Ambush, Love is lurking! He who has known her smile has known perfection.”(Rostand, 33) While the text shows her as an object of men’s sexual desires, it also gives her a sense of strength, with the power to entrap and therefore have some control, using her gift of beauty as a weapon to ensnare men and get her way. In addition, she is also has a “subtle wit”(Rostant, 13) to match and is called a “precieuse”(Rostand, 13) which is a 17th-century term for literary French women who “affected an extreme care in the use of language(“Precieuse”). This accounts for her lack of interest of Christian’s plain talk, which lacked eloquence. It also speaks to her intelligence, as does the cunning nature she displayed when she, on the spot, outwitted de Guiche by altering his letter in order to wed Christian. She also uses her beauty to her advantage in a crafty way, employing it to get through the enemy Spanish lines in order to see Christian and bring the troops food. By means of these actions, she demonstrates that she is more than simply a beauty, unlike Christian. However, this too can be seen as an example of an impossible standard to which, through Cyrano, the author Rostand holds women.

Due to Roxane’s alluring nature, she attracted many suitors, namely Cyrano, Christian, and De Guiche. Even though she is deceived by Cyrano and Christian charade, she was able to make her own choices when it came down with who she wanted to be with. The 1890’s, when the book was written, and the mid 17th century, when the play takes place, were very different times for women, and marriage was often about status and the woman’s feelings about the situation were rarely considered. In the beginning of the play, it seemed that Roxane would meet such a fate, with Ligniere expressing to Christian, “The Comte de Guiche… would marry Roxane to a Monsieur de Valvert, old and dull… She’s not consenting, but De Guiche has power.”(Rostand, 13) This shows the unfortunate reality of the time, exposing the harsh truth. It is only through her strength and wit that she manages to get out of the situation. But, she does and is able to follow her heart and marry Christian.

However, just because she found love, does not mean it was best for her. She was completely overcome by the love she felt, and made herself into a fool, completely forgoing the expression of intelligence she had shown earlier on. She risked her life to see Christian at the battlefield, and upon his death, threw her life away. Although she did not, as she wished, kill herself in turn, her withdrawal from society into the convent showed she was ruled by her feelings for a man. This in itself is unfeminist. One may interpret it as a show of her true love, but in reality, it is Cyrano and Christian looming over her and controlling her life, even beyond the grave.

Roxane, the beautiful love interest of the play, had her strengths and came off as a more empowered and capable woman than most of the ones who had lived and were portrayed in the time period in which the play takes place. But although it may have been slightly progressive in that sense for its age, it still has sexist tones in the nature of it which overshadow the good. Men are ultimately the downfall for Roxanne, taking her liveliness, her youth, her way of life, and her power.

Works Cited

Rostand, Edmond. Cyrano De Bergerac. Edited by Oscar H Fidell. Translated by Howard Thayer Kingsbury, Washington Square Press, 1966.

“Precieuse.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com/browse/precieuse?s=t.

Read more