’s Inevitable Destiny Essay, Research Paper
Who should take the blame for this tragedy? In Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano is portrayed as a valiant hero who exhibits humorous intelligence as well as great generosity. However, if we examine the play more carefully, we would find that Cyrano is personally responsible for his downfall; his constant aspiration for perfection and excessive deception eventually leads to his death. Such ornery behavior is exhibited when he adamantly insists on being himself, when he feigns the love letters for Christian, and when he hesitates to tell the truth and confess his love to Roxane. These acts ultimately aid in his defeat, leading us to conclude Cyrano is the only one to blame for his own destruction.
Throughout the play, Cyrano exhibits his obstinate and presumptuous personality. He adamantly believes that his way is the only way and he defies any opposing force that comes against him. He refuses to listen to any sound advice from his friends. The most obvious example is when he refuses De Guiche’s offer to be his patron. Instead of accepting the advice from his best friend, Le Bret, he has a rousing “No Thank You” tirade in front of the Cadets where he openly refuses to be under De Guiche’s patronage, proclaiming that living under another man’s honor is beneath him.
“Seek for the patronage of some great man,
And like a creeping vine on a tall tree
Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone?
No thank you!”
However, Cyrano should have realized that with De Guiche’s support he would have a higher status and a more stable economic source. The reason why Cyrano’s ingenuity is never publicly recognized is because his poems are never published. Not only does he not have funds to pay for their publication, but his poems are often spontaneous and thus recapturable in their context without the situation to which it applied. A number of his poems are also on the objectionable because of the merciless way he regards others. If he would seize this brilliant opportunity, he would have made more friends and fewer enemies, and he would not have died so young. It was his impudent satire that infuriated his enemies to the point of conspiring his “accidental” death. This somewhat rash action reflects on Act I when he threw a bag of gold to the audience for the cancellation of the play. It seems that Cyrano is throwing away another sack of treasure, but this time, he jeopardizes his own life to retain his honor.
Because Cyrano is not confident that he can win over Roxane with his grotesque looks, he attempts to win her by collaborating his intellect and Christian’s handsome face. Cyrano fears that if he announces his love to Roxane, she will laugh at his enormous nose. Although Cyrano is brave enough to fight off one hundred men, this phobia of rejection is terrifying enough to him that he is unable to tell Roxane that he loves her deeply. Cyrano feigns the love letters for Christian, who is not greatly skilled in the field of writing. This action seems to be a brilliant idea, but it causes a great beguilement since Roxane has deeply fallen in love with both Christian’s looks and Cyrano’s persuasive writing.
“A situation for a poet! Come.
Shall we collaborate? I’ll be your cloak
Of darkness, your each anted sword, your ring
To charm the fairy Princess!
If Cyrano hadn’t write love letters for Christian, Christian would not have been able to express his love for Roxane, and she would not have fallen in love with his inane mind. Cyrano should have realized that Roxane is a preciuse, who would not have loved a plain-spoken man. He should have had the courage to deliver the letter himself. If he had signed the letter and given it to Roxane, perhaps she would be angry and dejected at first, but his eloquent writing would eventually have won her love and admiration. However, Cyrano doesn’t consider the consequence of this behavior. He should have realized that realistically he is not helping Christian. His idea only harms both Christian and Roxane by causing a dishonest relationship between the three of them. The only one who is benefited is Cyrano because he is able to satisfy his writing appetite.
In addition, under the balcony scene, Christian clumsily tries to explain what love means to him. He is unsuccessful, and Cyrano masquerades as Christian and beautifully defines the meaning of love, which evidently woos Roxane’s heart.
“Night, making all things dimly beautiful,
One veil over us both- You only see
The darkness of a long cloak in the gloom,
And I the whiteness of a summer gown-
Can you know what this moment means to me?
If I was every eloquent-”
These pretty words cause Roxane to believe that Christian is the perfect man for the majority of the play. She carries Christian’s last love letter for over 15 years until the truth unfolds. Therefore, we can blame Cyrano for misleading Roxane to believe that Christian is an adorable hero with a great talent. By misleading Roxane, Cyrano also deceives himself.
Cyrano watches Roxane fall in love with Christian, but he realizes that he underestimated his poetry when Roxane informs him that she would love Christian even if he had been ugly. When Christian learns that Roxane had fallen in love with his mind and soul, which in reality, is Cyrano, he wants Cyrano to confess his love and tell her the truth. There is a great struggle between Cyrano and Christian on whether he should tell her because he cannot bear to inform Roxane that he had been conspiring with Christian for her affections.
“No – you torture me…And am I to ruin yours
Because I happen to be born with power
To say what you – perhaps – fell…
Man – do not try me too far! Do not try me…
No – no – ”
(Cyrano, P.164 – 165)
I believe that Cyrano is being such a coward in this scene and everything is too late when Cyrano finally decides to reveal the truth. With the mysterious death of Christian, Cyrano does not merely lose his handsome mask; he also loses his only reliable evidence to prove this deception. Ironically, the truth is revealed on the day he is dishonorably attacked. He reiterates the last letter Christian supposedly wrote for Roxane from his heart. The evening sky makes reading impossible, and yet he is able to “read” the letter word for word. Roxane recalled his voice from the first time Christian had spoken to her about love, discovering that the voice she heard that night is the same as the one who recites the letter that fateful night. Despite the truth has being revealed by Roxane, Cyrano still cannot bear the truth.
“No, no, my own dear love, I love you not!…”
Perhaps Cyrano thinks that Roxane doesn’t have to know the truth since it doesn’t mean anything anymore. It is ironic in Roxane’s discovery that it is Cyrano who has waited his whole life to tell her he loves her. It is hard to understand why Cyrano has waited so long to unfold the truth. If he had confessed his love to Roxane earlier, Roxane would definitely appreciate it and the couple then would have lived happily together. Instead, Cyrano’s ornery behavior has caused Roxane to love only once, but to lose that love twice.
This is not fate nor coincidence. In complete control of his life, Cyrano is arrogant, deceptive, and hesitant in his actions; this ultimately leads to the great tragedy. As a result, we conclude that Cyrano has technically jeopardized himself. If Cyrano had not been so stubborn when he refused to be under De Guiche’s patronage, had not been so generous to feign the love letters for Christian, and had he not been so hesitatant when he deciding to confess his love to Roxane, the tragedy could become a romantic love story with a sweet ending. Again, Cyrano must hold all the responsibility for his actions and he must recognize that only he is to blame for this tragedy.
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand