true self has prevailed over your outer appearance. I now love
you for your soul alone.
. . But you can be happy now: your thoughts outshine your face.
Your handsomeness was what first attracted me, but now
that my eyes are open I no longer see it!
This quotation, which comes in Act IV
just after Roxane arrives at Arras and surprises the cadets, heightens
the sense of tension in the play. Roxane’s changing sentiments have
derailed Christian and Cyrano’s plan. Just before Christian is about
to go off to battle, Roxane tells him that he loves him for his
“soul alone” and no longer for his “outer appearance.” This seemingly
positive romantic development troubles and depresses Christian since
he essentially borrowed his “soul” from Cyrano—without his outer
appearance, he has nothing to offer Roxane. Roxane rejects the romantic
hero’s mixture of inner and outer beauty in favor of the poetry
and inner beauty that she initially attributes to Christian. Christian,
however, understands that he had nothing to do with the poetry,
and that Roxane really loves Cyrano without even knowing it. The
moment is ironic since what Roxane believes to be her statement
of true, lasting love for Christian is based upon a character trait
that Christian does not possess.