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Cyrano de Bergerac

Summary

Act V, scenes i-vi

Summary Act V, scenes i-vi

Cyrano’s death scene mimics his overall plight. Denied the chance to die in battle on the sword of a hero, he instead dies after being ambushed by a falling log . Cyrano’s death, like his character, is simultaneously tragic, ironic, and comedic. However, he always manages to elude his fated failure, and he dies fighting not against a mortal hero but against the specters of falsehood, cowardice, and compromise—all of his “old enemies.” Throughout the play, Cyrano suffers both because of his appearance and because of his unwillingness to sacrifice his principles. By this time, his long nose has become a symbol of his honorable nature and a reminder of its consequences. Cyrano dies fighting unconquerable vices but he knowing that Roxane loves him at last, despite his appearance. He says he will take his unstained white plume with him to heaven—the white plume is the mark of a leader on the battlefield and the symbol of courage. He may die, but his honor will remain pure and unstained.

Cyrano’s painful realization that his life has been a failure looms over the brief bits of humor. He argues that his life has been largely unfulfilling despite moments of fleeting success. Throughout the play, Cyrano has displayed courage and bravado, but he never attains his goals or realizes his dreams. Tragically, Roxane comes to know his secret and love him only after he has been dealt his final blow. For these reasons, some critics consider Cyrano de Bergerac a heroic tragedy rather than a heroic comedy.