Cyrano de Bergerac
How we cite our quotes:
The play begins at two. Plenty of time –
And here’s the whole floor empty. Shall we try
(They fence with the foils which they have brought.) (I. 4-6)
Swordplay and dueling was common practice during seventeenth century France. It was deemed a blatant show of courage from a man. So the fact that the two cavaliers brought their foils to a play and practice fighting beforehand shows their eagerness to develop a brave façade.
Then she may be
One of those aesthetes…Intellectuals,
You call them – How can I talk to a woman
In that style? I have no wit. This fine manner
Of speaking and of writing nowadays –
Not for me! I am a soldier – and afraid. (I. 77-82)
Speaking renders the courageous Christian afraid; he knows how highly speech is valued in society, and rightly fears becoming an object of ridicule if he does not meet the standards.
Shall we go
And sit upon the stage? Come Valvert.
CHRISTIAN (Starts at the name.)
The Vicomte – Ah, that scoundrel! Quick – my glove –
I’ll throw it in his face – (I. 182-185)
Christian shows his bravery by wanting to duel the Vicomte de Valvert for imposing himself on Roxane.