The fifth act takes place in the year 1655 (fifteen years after the events of the previous act), and is set in a park outside a large convent in Paris. A group of nuns walks along, talking. Sister Claire claims to have seen Sister Martha eat some of a tart. Mother Marguerite, the superior of the nuns, says she’s going to mention the incident to Cyrano. The nuns discuss how Cyrano has come to their convent to pray every single Saturday for the last decade. Fourteen years ago, Mother Marguerite notes, Cyrano’s cousin Roxane came to the convent to mourn. Since then, Cyrano goes to the convent in an effort to bring drollness, wit, and humor to an otherwise sad place—despite the fact that he’s not a faithful Catholic.
In a radical move, Rostand jumps ahead 15 years. This reminds us how successful Cyrano and Christian were in seducing Roxane: together, they created a fictional character, part-Christian, part-Cyrano, and Roxane fell so passionately in love with him that she continues to mourn his memory 15 years later. At first, it seems that nothing has changed in Cyrano: he’s just as droll and sarcastic as ever, and still acting as a good friend to Roxane while keeping his feelings a secret.
As the nuns talk, Roxane appears, dressed in a widow’s veil. The Count de Guiche walks beside her. The nuns note that Roxane’s visitor, the Count, has been appointed the Duke of Grammont (a very important position). De Guiche sometimes visits Roxane, but it’s been months since he was last at the convent.
It’s surprising that de Guiche is present with Roxane, since he’s arguably the reason that Christian died. De Guiche is arguably the most enigmatic presence in the play—it’s up to the actor playing de Guiche to choose how to interpret his character. Fifteen years have passed, but Roxane’s love is still so strong that she defines herself as a widow above everything else.