Who is Cyrano?

One of the great men of history, who is a great example of how words can make a difference.

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Cyrano de Bergerac

              And now here is my secret, a very simple secret;
it is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
what is essential is invisible to the eye.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, from The Little Prince

Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person, but his fame today is     based on an 1897 play, loosely based on Cyrano’s life, by Edmond Rostand.     Rostand’s play, Cyrano de Bergerac, spawned several film adaptations, an     opera, a ballet, and is still performed regularly all over the world.

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Plot Summary:

Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a Cadet in the French Army, is     a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. In addition to being an     incredible duelist, he is a remarkable poet and is also shown to be a     musician. However, he has an extremely large nose, which is a target for     his own self-doubt. This doubt prevents him from expressing his love for     his cousin, the beautiful Roxane, as he believes that his ugliness forbids     him to “dream of being loved by even an ugly woman.”

As he is debating whether or not he should propose his love     to her, she comes to see him. In a moment of great dramatic irony, she     tells him that she believes she loves Christian de Neuvillette, a young     cadet in the same regiment as Cyrano. Although disheartened by this chain     of events, Cyrano agrees to protect Christian at Roxane’s request.

When Cyrano confronts Christian, he sees that Christian too     loves Roxane, but is intimidated by Roxane’s intelligence and has no wit or     intelligence of his own, even though he’s a “handsome devil”.     Desperate to express his love for Roxane, even if it is unrequited, Cyrano     offers to provide Christian with the type of dashing verse that he is     associated with. Christian states that “I need eloquence, and I have     none!” to which Cyrano replies “I’ll lend you mine! Lend me your     conquering physical charm, and together we’ll form a romantic hero!”

              The two arrange love letters and memorize     speeches to attempt to woo Roxane. Christian decides that he does not need     Cyrano’s help anymore, but humiliates himself in front of Roxane, and begs     Cyrano to help him again. This culminates in the famous scene where Roxane     is on top of a balcony believing she is speaking to Christian, but is     actually speaking to Cyrano pretending to be Christian. After winning back     Roxane’s love through Cyrano’s poetry, Christian is married to Roxane.     Their brilliant plan, however, is blocked by Antoine de Guiche. De Guiche,     the officer in charge of Cyrano and Christian’s regiment, dislikes Cyrano     and delights in ordering the Cadets to the siege upon Arras. Though Roxane     attempts to keep de Guiche from sending the army away through subterfuge     (and uses de Guiche’s order to secure her secret marriage to Christian),     she fails.

In a military encampment plagued by famine, Cyrano becomes     obsessed with writing love letters to Roxane and crediting them to     Christian. De Guiche, who is shown to be ridiculed by the soldiers he     commands, orders the regiment on a suicide mission. However, Roxane, taken     by the love letters, arrives with provisions. Roxane tells Christian that     she loves him just for his soul, and would love him even if he were ugly.     Hearing this, Christian tries to get the resistant Cyrano to tell Roxane     about the entire scheme. However, the battle starts and Christian dies     before Cyrano can properly inform her. Cyrano’s pride and sense of honor     preclude him from telling Roxane about the secret of the man who just died.     The cadets charge in a mostly fruitless attack, bringing Act IV, set in     1640, to a close.

Cyrano de Bergerac   and Roxane

              And now here is my secret, a very simple secret;
it is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
what is essential is invisible to the eye.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, from The Little Prince

Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person, but his fame today is     based on an 1897 play, loosely based on Cyrano’s life, by Edmond Rostand.     Rostand’s play, Cyrano de Bergerac, spawned several film adaptations, an     opera, a ballet, and is still performed regularly all over the world.

Plot Summary:

Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a Cadet in the French Army, is     a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. In addition to being an     incredible duelist, he is a remarkable poet and is also shown to be a     musician. However, he has an extremely large nose, which is a target for     his own self-doubt. This doubt prevents him from expressing his love for     his cousin, the beautiful Roxane, as he believes that his ugliness forbids     him to “dream of being loved by even an ugly woman.”

As he is debating whether or not he should propose his love     to her, she comes to see him. In a moment of great dramatic irony, she     tells him that she believes she loves Christian de Neuvillette, a young     cadet in the same regiment as Cyrano. Although disheartened by this chain     of events, Cyrano agrees to protect Christian at Roxane’s request.

When Cyrano confronts Christian, he sees that Christian too     loves Roxane, but is intimidated by Roxane’s intelligence and has no wit or     intelligence of his own, even though he’s a “handsome devil”.     Desperate to express his love for Roxane, even if it is unrequited, Cyrano     offers to provide Christian with the type of dashing verse that he is     associated with. Christian states that “I need eloquence, and I have     none!” to which Cyrano replies “I’ll lend you mine! Lend me your     conquering physical charm, and together we’ll form a romantic hero!”

              The two arrange love letters and memorize     speeches to attempt to woo Roxane. Christian decides that he does not need     Cyrano’s help anymore, but humiliates himself in front of Roxane, and begs     Cyrano to help him again. This culminates in the famous scene where Roxane     is on top of a balcony believing she is speaking to Christian, but is     actually speaking to Cyrano pretending to be Christian. After winning back     Roxane’s love through Cyrano’s poetry, Christian is married to Roxane.     Their brilliant plan, however, is blocked by Antoine de Guiche. De Guiche,     the officer in charge of Cyrano and Christian’s regiment, dislikes Cyrano     and delights in ordering the Cadets to the siege upon Arras. Though Roxane     attempts to keep de Guiche from sending the army away through subterfuge     (and uses de Guiche’s order to secure her secret marriage to Christian),     she fails.

In a military encampment plagued by famine, Cyrano becomes     obsessed with writing love letters to Roxane and crediting them to     Christian. De Guiche, who is shown to be ridiculed by the soldiers he     commands, orders the regiment on a suicide mission. However, Roxane, taken     by the love letters, arrives with provisions. Roxane tells Christian that     she loves him just for his soul, and would love him even if he were ugly.     Hearing this, Christian tries to get the resistant Cyrano to tell Roxane     about the entire scheme. However, the battle starts and Christian dies     before Cyrano can properly inform her. Cyrano’s pride and sense of honor     preclude him from telling Roxane about the secret of the man who just died.     The cadets charge in a mostly fruitless attack, bringing Act IV, set in     1640, to a close,

The play resumes in 1655, 15 years after the events in     Arras. Cyrano has become poor because his pride prevents him from receiving     aid. His brash manner, however, has continued to earn him enemies. He     visits Roxane, who still mourns for Christian, every Saturday at the     cloister where she now lives. Cyrano is stricken on the head by firewood     thrown from an open window while walking down the street. It is suspected     that the incident was set up by someone that Cyrano had insulted in the     past. After being treated by a doctor “acting out of charity”,     Cyrano gets up out of his bed and leaves to go keep his weekly appointment     with Roxane. He asks to read Christian’s last letter (which Cyrano, of     course, actually wrote), and Roxane gives it to him. It is a moving     farewell that Christian supposedly wrote in case of his death in battle. As     Cyrano reads it aloud, Roxane remembers hearing the same voice speaking     words of love to her long ago and notices how he is reading within the     dark. She turns and sees that Cyrano is reciting the letter from memory,     and realizes that not only did he write all of Christian’s letters, but     that she has actually always loved Cyrano, and he her. Two of Cyrano’s best     friends, Le Bret and Ragueneau, enter, concerned for Cyrano’s health, and     tell Roxane that Cyrano has “killed himself” by going to visit     her. It is then that Cyrano is forced to admit that he is dying from his     wound. Roxane now declares that she loves him and begs him not to die. But     Cyrano grows delirious, stands up, and imagines that he is fighting a duel     with Death himself, saying that it is better to fight in vain. Declaring     that the only thing that cannot be taken away from him is his “panache”     (i.e., honor; the word also means “a feathered headgear”), he     dies in Roxane’s arms.

The play resumes in 1655, 15 years after the events in     Arras. Cyrano has become poor because his pride prevents him from receiving     aid. His brash manner, however, has continued to earn him enemies. He     visits Roxane, who still mourns for Christian, every Saturday at the     cloister where she now lives. Cyrano is stricken on the head by firewood     thrown from an open window while walking down the street. It is suspected     that the incident was set up by someone that Cyrano had insulted in the     past. After being treated by a doctor “acting out of charity”,     Cyrano gets up out of his bed and leaves to go keep his weekly appointment     with Roxane. He asks to read Christian’s last letter (which Cyrano, of     course, actually wrote), and Roxane gives it to him. It is a moving     farewell that Christian supposedly wrote in case of his death in battle. As     Cyrano reads it aloud, Roxane remembers hearing the same voice speaking     words of love to her long ago and notices how he is reading within the     dark. She turns and sees that Cyrano is reciting the letter from memory,     and realizes that not only did he write all of Christian’s letters, but     that she has actually always loved Cyrano, and he her. Two of Cyrano’s best     friends, Le Bret and Ragueneau, enter, concerned for Cyrano’s health, and     tell Roxane that Cyrano has “killed himself” by going to visit     her. It is then that Cyrano is forced to admit that he is dying from his     wound. Roxane now declares that she loves him and begs him not to die. But     Cyrano grows delirious, stands up, and imagines that he is fighting a duel     with Death himself, saying that it is better to fight in vain. Declaring     that the only thing that cannot be taken away from him is his “panache”     (i.e., honor; the word also means “a feathered headgear”), he dies in Roxane’s arms.

3 Responses to Who is Cyrano?

  1. magnificent points altogether, you just received a new reader.
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    some days ago? Any certain?

  2. Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all significant infos. I’d like to peer more posts like this.

    • Hey there! Thanks for reading. Was afraid it might be a little TMI. LOL. It is actually an interesting story on the subject of someone trying to convey their feelings with words. They were not as handy at expressing words as their friend (Cyrano D.), so they employed his services and the results of such is much of what the above story is about along with a lot of history. Glad someone noticed. I forget not everyone knows of this interesting character in history.

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