From the first scene of Act 1—in which patrons gather in a theater to watch a play-within-the-play—it’s clear that Cyrano de Bergerac is a play about acting, appearances, and illusions. In the course of its five acts, Rostand offers some surprising ideas about the philosophy of appearances, which challenge and sometimes flatly contradict the cliché that “true beauty comes from within.”
Part of the conceit of Cyrano de Bergerac is that Christian de Neuvillette…(read full theme analysis)
The predominance of appearances, words, and faces in Cyrano de Bergerac presupposes love between different characters—without love, there would be no need for Cyrano and Christian de Neuvillette to craft elaborate lies and draft long letters to Roxane. And yet because Cyrano presupposes the existence of love, it’s often hard to say, what, exactly, real love is, especially because the play challenges our intuitive definition of love as a sincere, honest bond between…(read full theme analysis)
The paradox of Cyrano de Bergerac—and the source of a lot of its comedy—is that Cyrano, a man who prides himself on his independence, his “panache,” and his refusal to serve a master, must keep his word to another man: the clumsy, foolish Christian de Neuvillette. In general, the play explores the nuances of loyalty and honor by studying the relationships between Christian, Cyrano, and Roxane.
To begin with, Cyrano sacrifices…(read full theme analysis)