Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog
! Error Created with Sketch.

Cyrano de Bergerac

Act III, scenes i–iv

Summary Act III, scenes i–iv

Cyrano’s development as a heroic and moral character becomes even more remarkable in these scenes. He displays his knowledge of music, language, and mathematics. Despite his affection for Roxane, Cyrano enjoys helping Christian win her love, a fact that exemplifies Cyrano’s attraction to challenges of all kinds. But he also displays modesty: when Roxane praises the letters, which he secretly wrote, Cyrano does not believe that they have truly affected her. He realizes this impact, or allows himself to realize it, only when Roxane recites many of the lines back to him by heart. Cyrano may be proud, but he is also unbelievably humble.

These scenes present Roxane as an expert moderator who has powerful skills of persuasion. First, she convinces Cyrano about the beauty of the letters. But her most important achievement is persuading de Guiche to forgo taking vengeance upon Cyrano. Perhaps de Guiche’s reluctance can be attributed to his feelings for Roxane, but it is her persuasive flirting that clearly affects him.

The contrast between Cyrano and Christian intensifies in these scenes: Cyrano is humble and reserved, and Christian is proud and supremely confident, yet simple-minded. Given Cyrano’s incomparable love for Roxane, his ability to maintain a strong sense of reserve as she compliments the letters is remarkable. In comparison, Christian is more excited than Cyrano, though he did not even write the letters. At the end of scene iv, Christian seems somewhat unappreciative of Cyrano and believes the wooing is complete. Christian doesn’t understand that his decision to speak to Roxane without Cyrano’s help might lead him down a difficult and disastrous path.