full title Cyrano de Bergerac: Heroic Comedy in Five Acts
author Edmond Rostand
type of work Play
genre Heroic comedy, verse play
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.