Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Man on the Moon
Ah, la luna. The most romantic celestial body. The bringer of the softest light. The home of... Socrates and Galileo?
In Act III, the moon is the happy fantasy of Cyrano as he pretends to be a drunken madman that believes he has fallen from the sky:
Damn this mask!—
(As he is about to enter the house, Cyrano leaps from the balcony, still holding fast to the branch, which bends and swings him between De Guiche and the door; then he releases the branch and pretends to fall heavily as though from a great height. He lands flatly on the ground, where he lies motionless, as if stunned. De Guiche leaps back.)
What is that?
(When he lifts his eyes, the branch has sprung back into place. He can see nothing but the sky; he does not understand.)
Why… where did this man
CYRANO (Sits up and speaks with a strong accent.)—The moon!
From the moon, the moon!
I fell out of the moon!
What hour its rising tide seeks the full moon,
I laid me on the strand, fresh from the spray,
My head fronting the moonbeams, since the hair
Retains moisture – and so I slowly rose
As upon angels’ wings, effortlessly,
Upward—then suddenly I felt a shock!—
DE GUICHE (Overcome by curiosity, sits down on the bench.)
(Changes abruptly to his natural voice.)
The time is up!—
Fifteen minutes, your Grace!—You are now free;
And— they are bound—in wedlock. (III.463 -553 )
In Act V, it is his desired destination after death, since it is "the place for [him], [his] kind of paradise!" On the moon, he says, he can chill with other awesome dead guys like Socrates and Galileo:
Le Bret—I shall be up there presently
In the moon—without having to invent
Any flying machines!
What are you saying?...
The moon—yes, that would be the place for me—
My kind of paradise! I shall find there
Those other souls who should be friends of mine—
LE BRET (Revolting)
No! No! No!
It is too idiotic – too unfair—
Such a friend—such a poet—such a man—
To die so—to die so!— (V.326-334)
You should know that the real Cyrano de Bergerac also had a thing for space travel; in fact, he published a collection of stories called The Other World that detailed these fanciful journeys to the sun and moon.
That our hero, the fictional de Bergerac, is so intrigued by such fantasy is a reminder of his character’s romanticism and, often, his impracticality. It is only fitting that a character so lost in language and so poorly grounded in reality would be fascinated by the thought of traveling to the moon.