Cyrano de Bergerac Act 5
It is fifteen years later, in a convent outside of Paris. Three nuns, Sister Claire, Sister Marthe, and Mother Marguerite talk, establishing that after Christian died, Roxane lost all love of life, and moved to the convent, and that Cyrano comes to visit her every Saturday. All of the nuns are fond of Cyrano, but they've heard from his friend Le Bret that he's poor, and often doesn't eat for days at a time. He's too proud to ask for help from any of his friends. Roxane enters, wearing a widow's clothing. She walks with De Guiche, now a duke. The nuns leave to give them some privacy. De Guiche asks Roxane if she has forgiven him. She says that she's forgiven everything. She wears the final letter next to her heart, and she says that it feels like Christian never died, because his love is always with her. De Guiche asks about Cyrano. Roxane tells him that Cyrano visits her with perfect regularity. Le Bret enters, and Roxane asks about Cyrano. Le Bret says he spends most of his time writing and starving himself - making new enemies, as always. De Guiche says goodbye, and mentions how much he envies Cyrano - a man who lived without compromise. He then turns to Le Bret and tells him that he fears people might be plotting against Cyrano, he recommends that Cyrano keep under the radar. Le Bret doubts that Cyrano will ever play it safe.
A Nun enters, and announces that Ragueneau has arrived. He rushes in to tell Roxane something, but she leaves with De Guiche before he can. Ragueneau asks if he should tell Roxane that Cyrano has been injured. As he walked down the street, someone pushed a log out a window, and it struck his head. Ragueneau suspects foul play. A doctor has been to see Cyrano, and it doesn't look good. Le Bret and Ragueneau leave to go see Cyrano. Roxane reenters and sees them leaving. Marthe and Claire enter, carrying Cyrano's chair. They place it under his tree. The bells tolls Six O'clock. Cyrano enters, looking pale, his hat pulled low, covering the bandages on his head. He apologizes for being late, and tells her that he was delayed by a persistent creditors. Roxane doesn't realize that he's talking about death. Cyrano jokes with Marthe about eating meat on Friday. They joke with each other, then Marthe leaves. Cyrano begins giving Roxane's the week's news, as he does every week. As he reaches the end of the week, he spaces out, and Roxane is concerned. He tells her it's nothing more than an old war wound from the siege of Arras. Roxane tells Cyrano that she feels a little better every day, and she still wears the last letter around her neck. Cyrano asks to read it. Cyrano reads the letter, which is about saying goodbye to Roxane, knowing that he will never see her again. He puts all his heart and soul into the reading, and Roxane recognizes his voice from the night under the balcony. She realizes that Cyrano isn't reading the letter - there isn't any light. He's reciting it from memory. She confronts him.
Roxane: It was you!
Cyrano: No, Roxane, not true-
Roxane: Yes, that is the way my love spoke my name.
Cyrano: No! It was not I-
Roxane: It was always you!
Cyrano: I swear to you-
Roxane: How obvious it is now - the gift you gave him. All those letters, they were you.
Roxane: All those beautiful powerful words, they were you!
Roxane: The voice from the shadows, that was you.
Cyrano: How can I convince you-?
Roxane: You always loved me!
Cyrano: He always loved you!
Roxane: But not as you do!" Act 5, pg. 153
Roxane asks why Cyrano finally decided to tell her. Le Bret and Ragueneau re-enter. Cyrano finishes his weekly report. The last item: Cyrano de Bergerac has been murdered by an assassin. Cyrano tells them not to worry about him - his death has some poetry to it. He asks Ragueneau what his job is. Ragueneau says that he works at Moliere's theatre, and that Moliere stole a scene from one of Cyrano's plays. Cyrano asks if the scene worked: "Ragueneau: Oh, my colleague - we laughed - we laughed-! Cyrano: Well, my greatest victories were won under an assumed name." Act 5, pg. 155 Roxane tries to go to the nuns for help, but Cyrano stops her, telling her that he doesn't want her to miss the last scene. Roxane apologizes for making his life so miserable, but Cyrano tells her that she was all he could hope for. Cyrano tells her that he feels his life slipping away, that the sky and the moon are calling him. Le Bret refuses to accept Cyrano dying such a plain death. Cyrano decides to compose a final poem. When it's finished, he asks Roxane for one favor - could she mourn both him and Christian, could she think of herself as both their widows? Roxane agrees. Cyrano feels himself slipping away, but he refuses to sit or relax. He draws his sword and begins to duel with death. He speaks to it, slashing his sword through the air, striking down dishonesty, corruption, and prejudice. He refuses to surrender, fighting on faster and faster until he almost collapses.
"Cyrano: I know, you will leave me with nothing - neither the laurel nor the rose. Take it all then! There is one possession I take with me from this place. Tonight when I stand before God - and bow low to him, so that my forehead brushes his footstool, the firmament - I will stand again and proudly show Him that one pure possession - which I have never ceased to cherish or to share with all-
(Swinging his sword high again.)
-and that is-
(The sword escapes from his grasp. He shudders and falls back. Le Bret and Ragueneau catch him and lower him gently to the earth.)
Roxane: (Rushes to him, kneels, kisses his forehead.) And that is...?
Cyrano: (Opens his eyes, sees her and smiles.) My enormous - panache." Act 5, pg. 157