Cyrano walks toward Christian, who has just done poorly in his first conversation with Roxane. Christian cries out to Cyrano, “Come to my aid!” Cyrano agrees to help Christian. He sees Roxane in a high window of the house. He directs Christian to shout up to her—Cyrano will provide him with the script. Just as Christian is about to speak, Cyrano’s musicians reappear. Cyrano directs them to stand around the corner and keep watch, playing music if anyone passes nearby: happy music if it’s a woman, sad music if it’s a man.
Despite the pleasure Cyrano just took in Christian’s failure, his sense of loyalty or honor takes over again and he once more helps Christian to seduce Roxane. Cyrano is acting as both playwright and director here: he’s staging a scene for Roxane’s benefit, writing an impeccable script, coaching an actor in how to deliver his lines, and even getting musicians to announce when a new “character” enters.
Christian calls up to Roxane. Roxane replies disdainfully that she doesn’t care to speak to him further. Christian, prompted by Cyrano, tells Roxane that he loves her more and more every day. His poor heart, he goes on, beats with love for Roxane. Roxane is impressed by Christian’s newfound eloquence, though she notes that he sounds strained and hesitant. Exasperated, Cyrano switches places with Christian and, imitating Christian’s voice, gives a beautiful speech for Roxane. He says that his love is like a vast mountain—so vast that it takes time to climb. Roxane is overcome with love, and tells “Christian” to climb up to see her. Cyrano—still pretending to be Christian—refuses, saying that it is best to speak without seeing one another clearly.
This scene portrays a unique notion of love. Although Roxane’s first real meeting with Christian is a disaster, Cyrano manages to salvage Christian’s effort by pretending to be Christian himself—something of a parody of the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Roxane’s feelings for Christian aren’t entirely Platonic (meaning associated with the mind or spirit of a person) or physical, but somewhere in between: she’s attracted to Christian’s face, but also finds herself attracted to “Christian’s” mind and heart. Although Cyrano claims it’s best for Roxane not to see him clearly, the fact remains that Roxane still probably has Christian’s handsome appearance in her mind even as she also falls for Cyrano’s eloquence.
Cyrano continues wooing Roxane. He praises Roxane’s beautiful eyes and her sweet voice. As he goes on, his voice becomes increasingly confident, until he’s speaking in long stanzas without any interruption. He professes to feel true love for Roxane: a trembling in his entire body, so powerful that it drowns him in passion and jealousy. He ends his monologue by kissing a nearby hanging plant.
The way this scene is staged, we see that Cyrano becomes more confident and more rapturous in his own feelings for Roxane as he continues speaking. Cyrano has always loved Roxane, but it’s not until this moment, when he’s pretending to be someone else, that he truly feels the freedom to express real passion for her. The relationship between Cyrano and Christian seems truly symbiotic—they each need the other in order to fully love Roxane. Cyrano needs the physical anonymity of assuming Christian’s identity, and Christian needs Cyrano’s words to clarify and strengthen his own feelings.
After Cyrano’s speech, Roxane begins to weep with love for “Christian.” Christian himself then calls out, “A kiss!” Roxane is taken aback by his request, and Cyrano whispers to Christian that he’s being too hasty. Christian whispers back that he knows exactly what he’s doing. The two men whisper-argue so that Roxane can’t hear anything. Confused, she withdraws to her room. As she does so, sad and happy music plays. Someone is coming, Cyrano concludes—someone neither happy nor sad: a monk.
Christian’s love for Roxane seems purely physical. He barely knows her at all, and seems unwilling to wait for more letters and elaborate speeches: he just wants to kiss her. Cyrano, it’s assumed, wants to kiss Roxane as well, but as long as he’s acting under Christian’s identity, he wants their love to remain purely Platonic—he suggests that Christian not have any contact with Roxane at all yet. Appropriately, Roxane’s love for “Christian” is both physical and Platonic: she wants this man’s body and his mind. The problem is that her beloved’s mind and body belong to two different people.