Cyrano de Bergerac Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Line)
DE GUICHE (Who has recovered his self-control; smiling)
Have you read Don Quixote?
I have—and found myself the hero.
A PORTER (Appears at the door.)
Be so good as to read once more
The chapter of the windmills.
Windmills, remember, if you fight with them—
My enemies change, then, with every wind?
—May swing round their huge arms and cast you down
Into the mire.
Or up—among the stars! (II.361-368)
By comparing Cyrano to Don Quixote, Rostand is emphasizing both his positive and negative qualities. Like Don Quixote, Cyrano is very proud and uncompromising (to the point of folly) in his morals. It is his pride, of course, that has just offended Comte de Guiche. De Guiche insinuates here that those in power (i.e., with "their huge arms") have the ability to "cast [Cyrano] down" if he continues to insult them. But Cyrano reminds de Guiche that Don Quixote was eventually recognized and glorified for his upstanding morality in Cervantes’s novel; so, Cyrano suggests, can he.
A little square in the old Marais: old houses, and a glimpse of narrow streets. (III.stage directions)
Roxane lives in the Marais—a very fashionable quarter in 17th-century Paris. This tells us much about Roxane’s reputation and wealth.
FIRST PAGE (Ironically)
No doubt your honor knows F natural
When he hears—
I am a musician, infant!—
A pupil of Gassendi. (III.19-21)
The historical Cyrano de Bergerac really was a pupil of Gassendi, a French philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. At one point, he was considered the greatest philosopher of literature of his time, and it is suggested that his astronomical theories influenced de Bergerac’s writings about the moon (which are reflected later in Act III). That Cyrano is able to call him a teacher here makes his education more legitimate in the eyes of the French audience.