Tears and Blood
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Blood and Tears... Where's the Sweat?
There are a million reasons why this play makes us happy that we live in the 21st century (Facetime would really clear the whole identity-to-words thing right up), but the #1 reason is that today we don't really have to worry about reading blood- and tear-soaked emails.
When Roxane reads what she believes to be Christian’s dying letter, it's stained with both blood and tears:
ROXANE (sinks down upon the breast of CHRISTIAN.)
He is dead now…
CYRANO (aside; draws his sword.)
Why, so am I—
For I am dead, and my love mourns for me
And does not know…
On his letter—blood… and tears….
His blood…his tears… (IV.539-542)
As the audience knows, the tears are from Cyrano and the blood from Christian. In some ways, this is fitting, since Cyrano represents the emotional half of the man who has been wooing her and Christian the physical.
At the end of the play, when Roxane discovers the truth, she declares that the tears were Cyrano’s. He counters that the blood was Christian’s, which means both men were key in winning her love. Even on his death bed, Cyrano doesn’t want to take all the credit:
How many things have died… and are newborn!...
Why were you silent for so many years,
All the while, every night and every day,
He gave me nothing—you knew that—You knew
Here, in this letter lying on my breast,
Your tears—You knew they were your tears—
CYRANO (holds the letter out to her.)
Was his. (V.266-268)
This is also a reminder of what may be guilt on Cyrano’s part; Christian died—literally giving up his blood—in part fighting to defend Roxane and her honor.