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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac


by Edmond Rostand

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?


Rostand treats most of his characters as larger-than-life figures—especially Cyrano, Roxane, and Comte de Guiche. But his tone is one of mockery. Cyrano de Bergerac, what with his big nose and ability to spin rhyming, metered ballads at the drop of a hat (and during a duel) is, of course, pretty dang ridiculous:

CYRANO (Closes his eyes for an instant.)
Stop… Let me choose my rimes… Now!
Here we go—
(He suits the action to the word, throughout the following:)
Lightly I toss my hat away,
Languidly over my arm let fall
The cloak that covers my bright array Then out swords, and to work withal!
A Launcelot in his Lady’s hall…
A Spartacus, at the Hippodrome!...
I dally awhile with you, dear jackal,
Then, as I end the refrain, thrust home!
(The swords crossthe fight is on.)
Prince! Pray God, that is Lord of all,
Pardon your soul, for your time has come!
passfling you aslant, asprawl Then, as I end the refrain…
(He lunges; Valvert staggers back and falls into the arms of his friends. Cyrano recovers, and salutes.)
Thrust home!


He may be ridiculous, but he has the quick tongue and white hot wit of Kendrick Lamar.

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