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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac


by Edmond Rostand

Christian de Neuvillette Timeline and Summary

  • Christian comes to the play with Lignière to find out the name of his ladylove. Those that he meets are immediately struck by his good looks. We learn that he intends to enlist in the Guard the next day.
  • When Roxane arrives, Christian exchanges some meaningful glances with her. He learns of her station from Lignière. He discovers that she is being pressured to marry Vicomte de Valvert.
  • When the Vicomte arrives in the company of Comte de Guiche, Christian shows his fiery Gascon temper. He reaches into his pocket for a glove with which to slap the Vicomte in the face (thereby challenging him to a duel).
  • However, he finds a cut-purse (or pick-pocket) there instead. The thief quickly coughs up some information about de Guiche’s 100 would-be assassins to keep Christian from roughing him up.
  • Christian, alarmed at the threat to Lignière’s life, leaves reluctantly (leaving Roxane behind) to warn his friend of the danger.
  • The next day, we learn that Roxane is in love with Christian and wants Cyrano to protect him from harm.
  • Christian arrives at Ragueneau’s pastry shop with his regiment of cadets after Roxane leaves. He is the newest member. While the others praise Cyrano’s brave exploits of the night past, Christian is largely ignored.
  • This is probably why he doesn’t listen when warned about insulting Cyrano’s nose. Much to the cadets’ surprise, Cyrano puts up with his insolence.
  • When Cyrano demands to be left alone with Christian (presumably to duel), Cyrano reveals why. He tells Christian that Roxane loves him.
  • Christian is happy, but he admits that he is hopeless at writing love letters. Cyrano takes advantage of this to offer his help, telling Christian that they will win Roxane’s love together. He agrees.
  • Later, Christian—tired of being Cyrano’s mouthpiece—refuses Cyrano’s help and tries to woo Roxane on his own.
  • This doesn’t go too well.
  • Christian can only run with tired phrases like "I love you!" and "I love you so!" and "I adore you!" Roxane is not amused. She leaves.
  • A distraught Christian begs Cyrano for help. He complies, winning back Roxane’s love with a rapturous speech as he hides under the balcony and imitates Christian’s voice.
  • Christian takes his chance. In a pause of Cyrano’s speech, he requests a kiss from Roxane. She agrees, so he climbs up the vines and takes her in his arms (presumably without speaking).
  • After hearing Roxane’s contrived version of de Guiche’s letter, Christian rushes off to secretly marry her.
  • When de Guiche finds out what has happened, he orders Cyrano’s regiment (of which Christian is a member) off to war. So Christian goes to Arras, much to Roxane’s horror.
  • A month later at Arras, Christian and his fellow soldiers are suffering from starvation.
  • Christian does not think it is likely that he will see Roxane again and comes to Cyrano with his worries. Cyrano has already written a farewell letter for her (in Christian’s name, of course) and gives it to Christian to send off.
  • When Christian sees a teardrop stain on the letter, he begins to suspect the truth: Cyrano loves Roxane.
  • Roxane suddenly shows up with a carriage full of food. Christian tries to persuade her to leave since their lives are in danger, but she refuses, telling him that she has come because of his moving letters.
  • She confesses that at first she loved him only for his good looks, but now would love him even if he were ugly—simply for his beautiful words.
  • This appalls Christian.
  • He goes to Cyrano with Roxane’s words. Christian is in despair, telling Cyrano that she no longer loves him, that she loves Cyrano and that Cyrano loves her as well.
  • Cyrano affirms this truth, and in a show of principle, Christian orders Cyrano to tell Roxane the truth and let her choose between them.
  • He takes Cyrano to Roxane and leaves them alone; he goes off in the direction of the battle.
  • Just as Cyrano is about to confess the truth to Roxane, Christian is brought back, having been shot and mortally wounded. Roxane goes into hysterics and Cyrano cannot continue with his confession.
  • Cyrano lies to the dying man that he has told the woman the truth and Roxane still loves Christian.
  • Christian dies.