full title · Cyrano de Bergerac: Heroic Comedy in Five Acts
author · Edmond Rostand
type of work · Play
genre · Heroic comedy, verse play
language · French
time and place written · Paris, France, 1897
date of first performance · December 28, 1897
date of first publication · 1898
publisher · Charpentier et Fasquelle
tone · Grandiose, heroic
setting (time) · 1640 (Acts I–IV) and 1655 (Act V)
setting (place) · Paris and Arras
protagonist · Cyrano de Bergerac
major conflict · Cyrano loves Roxane but feels he is too ugly to woo her; Cyrano must overcome the severe self-doubt and shame that result from his awkward appearance in order to reveal to Roxane that he wrote Christian’s love letters.
rising action · Roxane asks Cyrano to protect Christian, who is fighting in a war alongside Cyrano, and Cyrano agrees to help Christian court Roxane by writing love letters and allowing Christian to sign them.
climax · Roxane tells Christian she loves him for his soul and not for his physical appearance. Just before Christian dies, Cyrano lies by telling him that Roxane has learned of the forged letters and has chosen Christian over Cyrano. Simultaneously, he recognizes that he can never tell Roxane that he is the true author of Christian’s love letters.
falling action · Cyrano visits Roxane and learns of his role in helping Christian. She declares her love for him, but Cyrano, who has been mortally wounded before visiting Roxane, dies.
themes · Values and virtue; inner and outer beauty; the danger in deception
motifs · Society; the letters; fighting and war
symbols · Individual characters; Cyrano’s nose; Cyrano’s tears and Christian’s blood
foreshadowing · Cyrano tries to write a letter to Roxane before they meet.
Sparknotes erroneously states in its Analysis — Act I, scenes i-iii (2nd Paragraph), “In Act I, scene iv, after Cyrano fights in a dramatic duel, his friend Cuigy wittily claims that Cyrano’s name is Dartagnan,” of The Three Musketeers fame.
What actually happens in Rostand’s play is this: an appreciative Musketeer, thoroughly entertained by the duel, commends Cyrano on his swordsmanship and then quickly leaves.
Cyrano asks Cuigy, “What was that gentleman’s name?”
Cuigy answers, “Oh…D’Artangnan.”
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Sparknotes says in regards to the following quote "VALVERT: Your nose is . . . very big. CYRANO: Yes, very. VALVERT: Ha! CYRANO: Is that all?" that "Remembering the promise he made to Roxane to keep Christian safe, Cyrano responds to Valvert’s ridiculing of his nose with biting, ironic criticism instead of violence." At this point in time, Roxane has said nothing to Cyrano about Christian, and indeed, Cyrano kills Valvert upon the final line of his balade.
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