Cyrano de Bergerac | Study Guide

Edmond Rostand

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Cyrano de Bergerac | Quotes


This great proboscis is my pride and joy,/Since a fine nose is the unfailing mark of a fine man, witty, good-natured, brave,/Courteous and forgiving.

Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 1, Scene 4

Cyrano shows pride in his nose to deflect any insults about it. However, this pride covers up his insecurity about his nose.


It's a rock, it's a peak, it's a cape ... No, not a cape,/ It's a peninsula!

Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 1, Scene 4

Cyrano reveals his wit by being able to insult his own nose in a much cleverer way than his adversary Valvert. By doing this, Cyrano displays the beauty and strength of his inner qualities, which are far superior to those of Valvert.


A dangerous innocent,/A budding rose between whose folded petals/Love lies in wait to trap us. Oh her smile!/To look upon it is to know perfection.

Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 1, Scene 5

Cyrano reveals that he is as much influenced by outer beauty as other people. So, like the people who insult Cyrano because of his nose, Cyrano also judges a book by its cover.


Open your eyes, Le Bret. What admiration/ Could possibly survive the sight of my profile?

Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 1, Scene 5

Cyrano expresses his true feelings about his appearance. Because of his ugliness, Cyrano believes no woman could love him. His large nose makes him feel inferior in matters of romance. Even though Roxane is clever, Cyrano knows he would not love her if she were ugly. So, he cannot expect her to love him.


Find a protector, I suppose, a patron,/And cling to him like ivy round a tree? Pull myself up by sticking to his bark?/Thank you, but no.

Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 2, Scene 8

Cyrano shows pride about his independence. He will not lower himself to rely on a patron for protection and social advancement. Besides, he must keep his independence in order to have the freedom to write what he wants.


I've got a better plan: leave him at home./Him and his precious cadets, sitting in Paris,/Twiddling their thumbs when the army goes to war,/He'll eat his heart out!

Roxane, Act 3, Scene 2

Roxane concocts a plan to deceive de Guiche. Roxane makes de Guiche believe that she wants to punish Cyrano, but in truth she wants to protect Christian. By doing this Roxane shows her willingness to use deception to achieve her goals.


And I don't like you stupid, any more/Than I'd like you ugly.

Roxane, Act 3, Scene 5

Roxane makes a connection between stupidity and an ugly appearance. For her, stupidity is a form of inner ugliness that revolts her as much as a hideous face. Roxane expects the man she loves to be perfect, a combination of outer and inner beauty.


Where are we? My head's all spinnin'. It's a long way, ye ken,/From here to the moon.

Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 3, Scene 8

Cyrano spins a tall tale about traveling from the moon to the Earth to deceive and delay de Guiche. By showing this, Rostand emphasizes how deceptions or lies can be fascinating because they are not bound by what is considered true. De Guiche gets so absorbed in Cyrano's lunar fable that he momentarily forgets what he planned to do.


I might have been shot/There and then, if not for my presence of mind./Untying my colonel's sash, I threw it aside.

Count de Guiche, Act 4, Scene 4

De Guiche reveals that he takes pride in being calculating and manipulative. He applauds himself for discarding his sash, thereby making him less of a target in battle. Because he was not shot, de Guiche was able to lead a successful charge. So, for him the end justifies the means.


This is real love, I love you for yourself,/And if you lost your looks I'd love you still.

Roxane, Act 4, Scene 8

Roxane reveals that true love of the soul can surpass the love of outer beauty. Inspired by Cyrano's love letters, she reaches a state in which the ideal love expressed in these letters has become true for her. Her soul loves what she believes is Christian's soul, thereby transcending physical attractiveness. However, for Christian, her type of love is disastrous. He knows Roxane does not really love him, but Cyrano, who has conveyed his soul through Christian.


I've had enough/Of being my own rival.

Christian de Neuvillette, Act 4, Scene 9

Christian shows the split that has happened within him. By going along with Cyrano's deception of Roxane, he has become two people—the handsome soldier and the romantic soul, which is really Cyrano's soul. So, when Christian realizes that Roxane loves his soul more than his looks, he becomes a rival to his romantic soul, which belongs to Cyrano.


Whoever fought because he hoped to win?/Hopeless odds make the beauty of the thing.

Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 5, Scene 6

In his last speech, Cyrano shows his pride in his idealism. He knows that fighting for his ideals is doomed to defeat. But, because of this, his fight to uphold his ideals becomes a thing of beauty. So, for Cyrano the means justifies the end. The beauty of his fight for ideals justifies the ultimate failure of his struggle.

Through his last words, Cyrano emphasizes that the unique expression of his individuality will always remain his. So, he values more than anything the expression of who he really is, instead of what society says he should be.

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