Study Guide

Cyrano de Bergerac The Fifth Act: Cyrano’s Gazette

By Edmond Rostand

The Fifth Act: Cyrano’s Gazette

  • This scene takes place fifteen years later (in 1655) at a convent in Paris. It’s late October and there’s lots of beautiful foliage everywhere.
  • Action opens with several nuns, through whom we get a slew of information:
  • Roxane is now living in this convent (as a nun).
  • She’s still wearing her mourning clothes for Christian and still keeps his last letter near her heart. Cyrano, who we’re happy to see is not dead, visits her every Saturday; he is the only one who can make her smile.
  • The nuns all like him, but they note that he is poor and he won’t let anyone help him financially.
  • Next we see de Guiche visit Roxane and, uncharacteristically, ask for her forgiveness. She grants it (though, to be fair, magnanimity may be a stipulation of her living-in-a-convent gig).
  • Roxane confirms (while conversing with de Guiche) that Cyrano does indeed visit her every week, and adds that he functions as her "Gazette," bringing her tabloid-style news of all the goings-on outside the convent.
  • Le Bret arrives and reaffirms that Cyrano is in a bad way, lonely, miserable, and still picking fights with everything that moves.
  • While Roxane isn’t listening, de Guiche confesses to Le Bret that, in a way, he envies Cyrano.
  • He then gets all mushy and introspective, revealing that, in fact, he dislikes himself and regrets most of his life.
  • Could this be a new de Guiche?
  • Then he tells Le Bret to warn Cyrano that there may be an accident waiting for him, courtesy of the men at court he has managed to royally tick off. It is basically a death threat.
  • In other words, this is not a new de Guiche. The guy is still a jerkosaur.
  • (Although it is possible that de Guiche is genuinely warning Le Bret.)
  • Ragueneau arrives and we hear that in the last fifteen years he’s been running through a variety of different careers, everything from singer to hairdresser.
  • Ragueneau tells Le Bret that Cyrano has suffered an "accident"—a heavy log was pushed from a window onto his head as he was passing under it; he is now mortally wounded.
  • The two friends hurry to Cyrano’s aid, but it is in vain.
  • Because it’s Saturday, it’s Cyrano’s day to visit Roxane. He arrives, but a tad late what with his head injury and his present state at the threshold of death.
  • Roxane, as always, pretends to be engrossed in her embroidery, so she doesn’t even see Cyrano’s horrific head injury.
  • Cyrano continues the illusion, proceeding as usual; he tells her the daily frivolous news at court. Then, halfway through, he faints.
  • Roxane runs to him just as he wakes up; he pulls down his hat to hide his injury and insists that it’s just an old battle wound acting up again. Still the most gullible chick ever, Roxane believes him.
  • Cyrano asks for Christian’s last letter and reads it aloud and with passion. The letter declares that Christian knew he was going to die that day in battle. As Cyrano reads, Roxane recognizes Cyrano’s voice from underneath the balcony fifteen years ago.
  • Nice timing, woman.
  • She realizes it is Cyrano who has loved her all this time. Cyrano tries to deny it, still insisting it was Christian. But when Roxane asks him why he hid himself from her, he gives in and begins to answer.
  • Then Ragueneau and Le Bret arrive, interrupting Cyrano’s confession. Finally, Cyrano admits to Roxane that he is mortally wounded. The two friends try to gloss it over, talking about trivial things like Molière (a playwright) stealing Cyrano’s lines for his own play. Hardy-har, yes, that was a good one.
  • Cyrano laments that his whole life has been all about giving others the words with which to win the prize while he goes unrewarded.
  • Roxane cries out that she loves him, but Cyrano is too far gone. It isn’t part of his tragic tale, he says, for Roxane to love him now.
  • Roxane says, "This is all my fault," but Cyrano is still a gentlemen and tells her that he doesn’t regret it, since through her he knew "womanhood and its sweetness."
  • Delirious, Cyrano continues on about how he will soon be on the moon, in paradise, with other famous men like Socrates and Galileo.
  • Cyrano feels death coming on and rises to his feet, drawing his sword to fight off his impending doom.
  • As he falls into his friends’ arms for the final time, he proudly says there is one thing in the world that is his alone, still unstained: his white plume.
  • Roxane kisses him.
  • Cyrano dies.