Cyrano de Bergerac
How we cite our quotes:
Hmph! – Well, then, the real reason why you hate
Montfleury – Come, the truth, now!
Who cannot hold his belly in his arms,
Still dreams of being sweetly dangerous
Among the women – sighs and languishes,
Making sheeps’ eyes out of his great frog’s face –
I hate him ever since one day he dared
Smile upon –
Oh, my friend, I seemed to see
Over some flower a great snail crawling!
What? Is it possible?
CYRANO (With a bitter smile)
For me to love?
I love. (I. 532-542)
Le Bret shows insight into Cyrano’s mind. He knows the man’s anger at Montfleury must have something to do with another intense passion – love.
Who and what is this woman?
Mortally, without meaning; exquisite
Without imagining. Nature’s own snare
To allure manhood. A white rose wherein
Love lies in ambush for his natural prey.
Who knows her smile has known a perfect thing.
She creates grace in her own image, brings
Heaven to earth in one movement of her hand –
Nor thou, O Venus! balancing thy shell
Over the Mediterranean blue, nor thou,
Diana! marching through broad, blossoming woods,
Art so divine as when she mounts her chair,
And goes abroad through Paris! (I. 551-563)
One of the most compelling reasons that Cyrano loves Roxane is for her physical beauty – which he describes as divine. But more interesting is the first adjective he uses: dangerous. Indeed, he will ultimately suffer death as penalty (if indirectly) for his love.
…I may grow
Tender, walking alone in the blue cool
Of evening, through some garden fresh with flowers
After the benediction of the rain;
My poor big devil of a nose inhales
April…and so I follow with my eyes
Where some boy, with a girl upon his arm,
Passes a patch of silver…and I feel
Somehow, I wish I had a woman too,
Walking with little steps under the moon.
And holding my arm so, and smiling. (I. 571-581)
Despite all his flamboyant bravado, Cyrano has a tender heart and secretly longs for love. To somewhat appease his yearning, he lives vicariously through others.