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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac


by Edmond Rostand

Analysis: Writing Style

Acrobatic, Extravagant

Rostand’s style is infused with all the grand heroism of 17th-century French speech. He uses lyrical flights of poetry and witty repartee as well as all the conventional titles—Monsieur, Mademoiselle, etc.—of the time.

Just look at one of Cyrano’s speeches to see what we’re getting at here:

Yes, all my laurels you [Death] have riven away
And all my roses; yet in spite of you,
There is one crown I bear away with me
And to-night, when I enter before God,
My salute shall sweep all the stars away
From the blue threshold! One thing without stain,
Unspotted from the world, in spite of doom
Mine own!
(He springs forward, his sword lifted aloft.)
And that is…
(The sword escapes his hand; he totters, and falls into the arms of LE BRET and RAGUENEAU.)
(Bends over him and kisses him on the forehead.)
—That is…
(Opens his eyes and smiles up at her.)
My white plume…

Alliteration, metaphors, hyperbole—and, of course, the French was written in verse, making it even more majestic in style.

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