Cyrano de Bergerac Notes & Analysis
The free Cyrano de Bergerac notes include comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. These free notes consist of about 47 pages (13,860 words) and contain the following sections:
Cyrano de Bergerac Plot Summary
People come to the theatre in the Hotel de Bourgogone for may reasons - most are there to attend a famous play. Christian is there to find out the name of the woman he's fallen in love with from afar. Cyrano is there to keep the lead actor, Montfleury from performing - which he has forbidden. Christian is told that the woman's name is Roxane, and learns that an evil Nobleman, De Guiche, is attempting to make her his consort. Cyrano appears, shocking most with his unusually large nose. He intimidates Montfleury offstage, but is then insulted by one of De Guiche's friends, Valvert, who doesn't believe that Cyrano is as fierce as everyone says. Cyrano kills Valvert in a duel while composing a poem, and the audience begins to leave. Roxane's chaperone arranges a meeting between Roxanne and Cyrano the next morning. Then, Cyrano hears that a poet friend of his has a hundred assassins waiting for him on the way home, so Cyrano leads the way, offering to fight all of them. A crowd of people follows Cyrano to witness the spectacle.
The next day, Cyrano waits in his friend's bakery for Roxanne to arrive. She is his cousin, but he is secretly in love with her, and always has been. He's too nervous to tell her how he feels, so he writes a letter to give to her. Roxane arrives to talk with Cyrano, confessing that she's fallen in love with someone. Cyrano is happy for a moment, then he realizes that she's talking about Christian, and she wants Cyrano to help Christian get used to the city - since Christian has just joined the Royal Guard, which Cyrano is the most famous member of. Cyrano promises to look after Christian, and then Roxane leaves. The Royal Guard arrives to congratulate Cyrano on defeating the assassins. De Guiche arrives, and offers to become Cyrano's patron, but Cyrano refuses, and De Guiche leaves. Christian, tricked by the other soldiers, makes the mistake of making fun of Cyrano's nose. To everyone's surprise, Cyrano doesn't hurt Christian, but instead asks to speak to him alone. Once they're alone together, Cyrano explains to Christian that Roxane is in love with him, and tells Christian to write her a love letter. Christian doesn't have any skill with words, so Cyrano gives his love letter to Christian and tells him to sign it and give it to Roxane.
It is now a few weeks later. Cyrano and Christian wait outside Roxane's house. Cyrano has been tutoring Christian on intelligent things to say in conversation to Roxane. Christian thinks he's ready to handle it himself, so Cyrano hides in the shadows. When Roxane comes home, Christian can't think of anything to say, and he offends her. Cyrano offers to help Christian again, feeding him things to say from under Roxane's balcony. Christian can't say the words fast enough, though, so Cyrano just does it himself, telling Roxane how much he loves her while pretending to be Christian. He wins her heart, and she invites Christian inside for a kiss. Meanwhile, De Guiche plans to marry Roxane off to someone insignificant so no one will suspect that she's his mistress. He sends over a monk to perform the ceremony, under the mistaken impression that Christian is ugly and unworthy of Roxane. De Guiche comes to see the ceremony, but Cyrano delays him with fantastic stories until it's too late, and Christian has married Roxane. De Guiche realizes that he's been tricked, and sends Cyrano and Christian's regiment off to fight on the front line in the war with Spain.
The Royal Guard is camped outside the walls of a city, besieged by Spanish troops. There is no food and everyone is starving. Cyrano returns from mailing one of the letters he fakes from Christian to Roxane. He sees that the men are weary and low on morale, so he gives a speech to rile them men. De Guiche arrives, and tells the Royal Guard that they are going to be used as sacrificial troops to distract the enemy while the real attack begins. Christian tells Cyrano that he wishes he had time to say goodbye to Roxane. Cyrano gives Christian a farewell letter, one that tells Roxane he'll never see her again. Christian is suddenly suspicious - the letter has tears on it. Why would Cyrano care so much? Roxane arrives in a carriage, bringing food for everyone. De Guiche tries to convince her to leave, but when she insists on staying, he agrees to stay as well. Christian has figured out that Cyrano is in love with Roxane, and that all along the things he's been writing in the letters have been his own feelings. Christian demands to know who Roxane really loves, him, or the person who wrote the letters, so he demands that Cyrano tell her the truth and let her decide. Before Cyrano can tell her, Christian is killed in battle, and Cyrano decides to never tell her. Roxane reads Christian's farewell letter and faints. Cyrano tells De Guiche to take her away from the fight. Cyrano and the remaining Royal Guard prepare themselves for the final attack. The Spanish break through their defenses and the battle begins.
It is fifteen years later in a convent outside of Paris. Roxane lives as a secluded widow. Every week, Cyrano comes to give her news from the world. Two of Cyrano's friends arrive to visit, and privately they confer - Cyrano has been attacked, and he's close to death. Neither one knows how to tell Roxane. They go to check on Cyrano's condition, just as Cyrano comes to visit Roxane. He starts reading her his weekly report, then he grows weak, and asks to see the last letter Christian wrote to her. She gives it to him, and he begins reading it to her. Roxane realizes that Cyrano knows the letter by heart, and she figures out that it was Cyrano writing to her all along. Cyrano admits it, and explains that he's only telling her because he's dying. He asks Roxane if she could mourn both him and Christian in her heart, and she agrees. Cyrano composes one last poem while fencing with an invisible enemy, and then finally, he dies.