Cyrano de Bergerac
How we cite our quotes:
A CADET (Enters with a drawn sword, along the whole blade of which is transfixed
a collection of disreputable hats, their plumes draggled, their crowns cut and torn.)
Cyrano! See here –
Look what we found this morning in the street –
The plumes dropped in their flight by those fine birds
Who showed the white feather!
Spoils of the hunt –
Those rascals, he must be an angry man
Who was it? Do you know?
(The laughter ceases.)
I hired them to do the sort of work
We do not soil our hands with – punishing
A drunken poet…
THE CADET (To Cyrano)
What shall we do with them?
They ought to be preserved before they spoil –
CYRANO (Takes the sword, and in the gesture of saluting De Guiche with it, makes all the hats slide off at his feet.)
Sir, will you not return these to your friends?
My chair – my porters here – immediately! (II. 346-359)
De Guiche confirms our suspicions of his rabid, revenge-obsessed character. Cyrano, however, shows a flare of spirit in taking a bit of his own revenge. To rub in the Comte’s men’s incompetence, he mockingly asks the Comte to return the fallen plumes (already a sign of cowardice and a source of shame for the Comte).
But Cyrano? What will you do to him?
Order him into danger? He loves that!
I know what I should do.
Leave him here
With his Cadets, while all the regiment
Goes on to glory! That would torture him –
To sit all through the war with folded arms –
I know his nature. If you hate that man,
Strike at his self-esteem.
Oh woman – woman!
Who but a woman would have thought of this?
He’ll eat his heart out, while his Gascon friends
Bite their nails all day long in Paris here.
And you will be avenged!
You love me then,
Making my enemies your own,
Hating them – I should like to see in that
A sign of love, Roxane.
Perhaps it is one… (III. 99-113)
Roxane takes advantage of the Comte’s obsession for revenge to save Christian.
(The others gather around her. She pretends to read from the letter, aloud.)
Will have his way, although against your will;
That is why I am sending this to you
By a most holy man, intelligent,
Discreet. You will communicate to him
Our order to perform, here and at once
The rite of…
(Turns the page)
Holy Matrimony. You
And Christian will be married privately
In your house. I have sent him to you. I know
You hesitate. Be resigned, nevertheless,
To the Cardinal’s command, who sends herewith
His blessing. Be assured also of my own
Respect and high consideration – signed,
Your very humble and – etcetera – "(III. 424-37)
Roxane changes the contents of the letter in part to get revenge on the Comte for offending her honor (by thinking she would get dirty with him while the men marched off the war).