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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac

by Edmond Rostand

Principles Theme

Principle – or lack thereof – is a determining factor for many characters in Cyrano de Bergerac. It defines the difference between the protagonist and the villain. Principle in this play often means valuing honor above practicality. As such, acting according to principle isn’t always the most beneficial course of action, but it certainly is the most noble.

Questions About Principles

  1. Why does Cyrano refuse to work as a playwright for the Cardinal? Is this consistent with his character, or a bit unexpected?
  2. After Christian’s death, why does Cyrano refuse to tell Roxane the truth? Does he do this for Roxane, for Christian, or for himself?
  3. What is Comte de Guiche’s motivation throughout the play?
  4. What does the upper class – like the marquises – value? How do their comments demonstrate this? How does Rostand mock the upper classes?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Cyrano is rendered cowardly and unprincipled for his refusal to tell Roxane how he feels and the ease with which he lies to his lady love.

Cyrano’s deception of Roxane is justified because he does it solely to make her happy.

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