Christian and Cyrano beg Roxane to leave the camp before a battle breaks out. Roxane refuses. The other cadets murmur that they could now die happily, having seen Roxane’s beautiful face—if only they could also have some food to eat. Carbon criticizes the cadets for thinking of food at a time like this. Roxane smiles and announces that she has brought food for the army: pasties, wine, etc. The cadets sprint to the carriage, where they find Ragueneau, bearing boxes of delicious food. The cadets feast on their food, yet neither Cyrano nor Christian eats anything.
Rostand make a clever analogy here. In the earlier scenes of Act 4, Cyrano had posed a dichotomy between poetry and food—in other words, between spiritual nourishment and physical nourishment. We can then see the similarity between this dichotomy and the dichotomy of the kinds of love—physical love and spiritual love. Essentially, poetry stands for spiritual or intellectual love, and food for physical love. Therefore, it’s appropriate that Roxane nourishes both the soldiers’ spirits and their stomachs: she embodies both kinds of love. It’s also telling that neither Cyrano nor Christian eats anything. Either they’re in too much emotional turmoil to have an appetite, or else they’re both trying to seem brave in front of Roxane.
Christian demands to know why Roxane came to see him. Roxane tells Christian that she’ll explain as soon as she’s finished feeding the soldiers. Suddenly, Le Bret calls out that the Count de Guiche is about to return from his cannon inspection. Cyrano yells for the soldiers to hide their food and wine. Immediately all the soldiers hide their food.
It seems that Christian has started to realize that Roxane more truly loves the “Cyrano” aspect of him now, and that Cyrano loves Roxane back. Of course, there is also an entire war going on at the same time, so it seems unlikely that the truth will be revealed without some kind of misunderstanding or tragedy.