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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac


by Edmond Rostand

Cyrano de Bergerac Theme of Art and Culture

Cyrano de Bergerac is steeped in the history and culture of 17th-century France. Though the playwright lived more than two hundred years after this era, he goes to great pains to make it as faithful to the time as possible. His text is littered with references to real historical figures, artists, thinkers, philosophers, teachers, actors, and writers. The play both honors and mocks the frippery of the French court in its constant allusions to The Three Musketeers, the most famous novel written about this time period.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. What is the effect of the cultural and historical allusions in Cyrano de Bergerac? How does it affect the way we view the play?
  2. Does Rostand uphold or mock French ideals in his Three Musketeers allusions? Could it be possible that he’s doing both, or does that just sound like crazy talk?
  3. What literary or historical figures is Cyrano compared to? How does this shape how we view his character?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In depicting Cyrano as a hero and Christian as a martyr, Rostand ultimately approves of and honors the ideals of 17th-century France in his play.

In depicting Comte de Guiche as vengeful and the minor characters as vain, Rostand mocks the ideals of 17th-century France.

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