Acts I and II
In this stage, everyone’s identities are obscured from one another. Christian and Cyrano are both in love with Roxane. Comte de Guiche also wants this chick, but hides behind his puppet, Vicomte de Valvert. When Cyrano and Christian make their pact, Cyrano hides the fact that he is in love with Roxane from Christian. Roxane is fooled by Cyrano’s letters—thinking they come from Christian—and thus has a high opinion of Christian’s literary skills.
She feigns love for de Guiche to try to keep Christian and Cyrano safe from war. During the balcony scene, Cyrano fools Roxane into thinking that the man with the wonderful words is Christian. Roxane then fools the Capuchin friar into secretly marrying her and Christian. Meanwhile, Cyrano dupes Comte de Guiche to buy time for Roxane and Christian to finish the wedding ceremony.
Acts III and IV
In this stage, what seemed harmless before is shown to carry greater weight and consequences. Comte de Guiche exacts his revenge on Cyrano by revoking his promise to Roxane and spiriting Cyrano’s regiment, including the newlywed Christian, away to war. There, they suffer starvation and low morale. Cyrano and Christian’s deception to Roxane continues. But this time, it has more dire consequences. She arrives at Arras, having been moved to tears by Christian’s letters, and vows to stay at Christian’s side until death.
Believing Christian to be the writer of the letters, Roxane tells him she would love him even if he were ugly. This, of course, disturbs Christian, and he goes running to Cyrano with the truth. Here, he confirms the truth about Cyrano’s feelings for Roxane. Overcome by emotion, he rushes into battle and gets himself killed. Cyrano cannot bring himself to confess the truth to Roxane and spends the next fifteen years holding his silence and feeding his guilt.
In this stage, everyone realizes what’s going on. As Cyrano reads Christian’s last letter to Roxane aloud, she recognizes his voice from the balcony scene. Roxane tells him she loves him. She realizes it is he who has loved her all this time. Cyrano’s friends, Le Bret and Ragueneau, join him in his final moments and hold him as he has his final epiphany. Cyrano dies with his honor intact, his white plume unstained, and having finally won Roxane’s love for himself.