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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac


by Edmond Rostand

Lady Roxane Timeline and Summary

  • Lady Roxane arrives with her Duenna at the Hotel de Bourgogne to watch the play. She and Christian see each other and exchange glances; both are enchanted with each other.
  • After Cyrano’s grand entrance and duel with Valvert, Roxane’s Duenna approaches Cyrano and requests a private audience with him on the morrow. This excites Cyrano to no end.
  • When Roxane arrives the next day at Ragueneau’s pastry shop, she first thanks Cyrano for dueling with Valvert the night before. She resents Valvert and de Guiche for trying to force her to marry Valvert.
  • We learn from her conversation with Cyrano that they used to be playmates together as children. He used to make swords out of the bulrushes and she used to make dolls out of dandelions.
  • Cute.
  • Whenever Cyrano played too roughly and hurt his hands, he would come running to Roxane and she would mother him.
  • At this point, Roxane takes Cyrano’s hand and discovers a wound there from his fight with de Guiche’s 100 men the night before. As she did when they were children, Roxane now bandages his hand with her handkerchief.
  • She begins telling him that she is in love with someone who does not know it yet. Cyrano thinks it is him… until she says that he is beautiful. Then she reveals it is Christian.
  • She rhapsodizes about his good looks and Cyrano, slightly annoyed, counters by implying that there might not be a brain behind those pretty eyes.
  • Roxane admits she fears for Christian, as he’s a hot-tempered Gascon boy and newly initiated into the Guards. She turns to Cyrano and goes on about how brave he is for having defeated all those men last night. Cyrano agrees to protect Christian—much to Roxane’s delight.
  • She also requests that Christian write a love letter to her. Cyrano complies.
  • Later, after Cyrano and Christian have come to an understanding, Roxane receives a visit from Cyrano. He asks her how she finds Christian and is glad to see her opinion of his intellect is high.
  • De Guiche interrupts them. He obviously wants Roxane for himself now (instead of marrying her off to Valvert) and tries to probe her feelings for him by telling her he is leaving soon with the Cadets to fight in the war.
  • She is indifferent to him until she learns that Christian is in the regiment he plans to take to war.
  • Then she thinks quickly on her feet and pretends to be in love with de Guiche.
  • She then advises him on what to do to avenge himself on Cyrano: leave him and his Cadets here in Paris while everyone else marches off to war. Such an act would deny him the battle glory he so desires. De Guiche happily agrees to the plan.
  • Seeing his chance and believing that Roxane loves him, de Guiche arranges for her to meet him at a convent that night for a tryst. Initially Roxane refuses, but when he presses, she pretends to break down and agree—just to get him to leave.
  • A little later, Christian arrives and tries to woo Roxane on his own, without Cyrano’s help. He fails miserably, able only to come up with the most unpoetic phrases like "I love you!" "I adore you!" and "I love you so!" When Roxane pushes him to rhapsodize, he fixates on her throat and tries to kiss it. At this point, Roxane has had enough and leaves him.
  • Cyrano saves the day by pretending to be Christian and rhapsodizing away beneath Roxane’s balcony. She readily forgives him and is even moved to tears by his passionate words.
  • When the real Christian requests a kiss, she gives it.
  • The lovers are interrupted by a Capuchin friar who bears a message for Roxane from Comte de Guiche. She reads it to herself, discovering that he wants her to meet with him at the convent tonight. This, of course, she will not do and she thinks quickly to save herself from such a fate.
  • Roxane pretends to read the letter aloud to the friar and Christian, but alters it as she goes. According to her re-telling, the letter commands Roxane and Christian to be wed as soon as possible.
  • Roxane is convincing and is soon rushing off to the chapel with Christian.
  • The two are wed.
  • When she comes back, she finds Cyrano triumphantly detaining de Guiche. But her joy is short-lived. The villain takes his revenge by breaking his vow to her and immediately ordering Cyrano’s cadets to war in Arras.
  • Roxane is distraught and begs Cyrano to keep her newly-wed husband safe, faithful, and writing to her every day. Cyrano complies.
  • For a month, Roxane receives love letters from "Christian" (penned by Cyrano) every day. She swoons over their passionate eloquence.
  • She is so moved that she conducts a surprise visit to the French camp in Arras. So great is her beauty that she is able to get through enemy lines simply by lowering her eyes before the admiring Spanish soldiers and saying, "I have a lover…"
  • She arrives in Arras in a carriage marked by the king’s crest. When she alights, she announces that she comes in service of her own king—Love.
  • All the men try to convince her to leave and go home to safety, but she is staunch. She vows to remain with her husband Christian until death.
  • Upon hearing this, the men get excited at having a woman in their camp. They clean up and have the Captain introduce them to Roxane.
  • The gallant Captain asks her to drop her handkerchief and when she does, he takes it and fastens it to a lance. It will be their banner.
  • When one man complains of hunger, Roxane reveals that she has essentially brought a feast. While she distracted the Spaniards, she says, her coachman—Ragueneau—stole food from the Spanish provisions.
  • She helps serve the starving men.
  • When they are finally alone, Roxane reveals to Christian why she came. She was so moved by the eloquence of his letters that she could not bear to be parted from him.
  • She asks Christian’s forgiveness for loving him at first only for his good looks. Now, she loves him for his beautiful words, his soul, etc. She tells him she would love him even if he were ugly. Of course, poor, beautiful Christian freaks out.
  • Just as Cyrano is about to confess to Roxane (at Christian’s request) his love and letters for her, Christian is brought back into camp mortally wounded.
  • Roxane goes into hysterics, repeatedly calling Christian’s name. She does not hear Cyrano whisper into Christian’s ear a lie—that he has confessed and that Roxane still loves him.
  • After Christian dies, Roxane discovers his last letter for her, placed over his heart. She takes it and reads it and discovers his blood and what she thinks are his tears on it. She faints.
  • Cyrano entrusts her to Comte de Guiche and tells him to take her to safety while he rushes off to battle.
  • Fifteen years later, Roxane lives in a convent and still mourns for Christian. She keeps his final letter over her heart. Only Cyrano can make her smile now.
  • She receives a visit from Comte de Guiche and when he uncharacteristically asks for her forgiveness, it is implied that she gives it. She goes on to say that she feels as if Christian has not altogether died, that she feels him when she rereads his letter.
  • When Le Bret arrives with news of Cyrano doing poorly, Roxane does not believe him. She thinks too highly of Cyrano.
  • Cyrano arrives a tad late for his weekly meeting with Roxane because of his grievous injury—he has suffered from an "accident." However, he hides it under a hat and pretends everything is normal for Roxane’s sake. She is bending over her embroidery as always and does not see Cyrano’s uncharacteristic paleness or weakness.
  • She listens to him report the frivolous news from court and is able to detect only that he is slightly melancholy.
  • When he faints momentarily, Roxane finally realizes something is wrong and rushes to him. He begs that it is just an old war wound acting up and she replies that she has her wounds as well, indicating the letter at her heart.
  • Cyrano asks to read the letter and Roxane complies. As he reads it aloud and with great feeling, she recognizes his voice from long ago, underneath her balcony on the night she married Christian.
  • As he reads, the darkness grows deeper until finally she can no longer see the letter (or more importantly, the man reading it). At this point, she realizes it is Cyrano who has loved her, for he cannot see the letter either in the dark yet either, but he keeps reading by heart.
  • When she tells him she knows the truth, Cyrano denies it, saying that it was Christian who loved her, not him. She insists that Cyrano loves her.
  • At this point, Ragueneau and Le Bret arrive with knowledge about Cyrano’s injury. This comes as a surprise to Roxane, who finally realizes Cyrano is very capable of dying like everyone else.
  • She tells him she loves him and begs him not to die. She blames herself for everything, though Cyrano protests.
  • As he goes into his final grandiloquent speech, she almost faints. As he dies in the arms of his friends, she kisses him and smiles down on him.
  • Cyrano dies looking up into her loving eyes.