Short summary - Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rostand

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Cyrano de Bergerac
Edmond Rostand

Premiere at the theater, starring the mediocre actor Monfleury. But the poet and brute, Gascon Cyrano de Bergerac, forbade this "empty of jesters" to appear on the stage, and as soon as Cyrano's menacing voice is heard in the hall, the actor cowardly runs away from the stage. In compensation for the damage for the disrupted performance, Cyrano generously gives his last money to the director of the theater. Wanting to teach Cyrano a lesson, several dandy nobles begin to poke fun at Cyrano. The object of ridicule is the nose of the Gascon - Cyrano, who does not shine with beauty, is the owner of a huge nose. But Cyrano responds to their pitiful jokes with a brilliant monologue about noses, then slaps one impudent one in the face, and challenges another to a duel. As a true poet, he fights, simultaneously reciting a poem about his fight, and in front of the admiring spectators, he hits the enemy "at the end of the premise."
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The audience disperses. Cyrano is sad - he is in love with his cousin, the witty beauty Roxanne, but knowing how ugly he is, Cyrano does not even think about reciprocity. Roxanne's duenna suddenly appears. She tells Cyrano that her mistress wants to meet him tomorrow. A mad hope flares up in Cyrano's heart. He makes a date at the confectionery of the muses fan Ragno.
The always drunk poet Linier rushes in and reports that "on the way to the house" a hundred hired killers lie in wait for him. Having drawn his sword, Cyrano goes to see him off.
Cyrano comes to Ragno, a pastry chef who adores poets. Ragno asks him about yesterday's battle: all of Paris only says that about the valor of Cyrano, who fought with a whole gang of hired killers and dispersed them. But Cyrano is not inclined to talk about himself: while waiting for Roxana, he writes her a letter - a declaration of love.
Roxanne arrives. She informs her cousin that she has fallen in love with the handsome Christian de Neuville. Shocked, Cyrano timidly tries to hint that her chosen one may turn out to be "stupider than a ram", but Roxanne does not believe him. Christian was assigned to the Gascon Guards Regiment, where Cyrano served. “I was terribly frightened yesterday with stories about how cruel your Gascon detachment is to the newcomers ...” she says, and asks Cyrano to become the patron of Christian. Cyrano agrees.
Guardsmen gather; they demand Cyrano's account of yesterday's battle. Cyrano starts, but some handsome newbie constantly inserts the word "nose" into his story, which is forbidden to pronounce in the regiment. The guardsmen, knowing Cyrano's hot temper, whisper: "He will chop him to pieces!"
Cyrano demands that they be left alone. When everyone leaves, he hugs a surprised Christian. Learning that Cyrano is Roxanne's cousin, Christian begs to forgive him for all his "noses" and confesses that he loves his cousin. Cyrano reports that Christian's feelings resonated in the girl's heart and she expects a letter from him. Roxanne's request frightens Christian: he is one of those "whose speech does not know how" in girls "to stir up love, to touch their dreams." Cyrano invites Christian to become his mind and first gives him a letter he wrote to Roxane, but not yet signed, Christian agrees and puts his name. The guards who entered, expecting to see minced meat from Christian, are unspeakably surprised to find the opponents talking peacefully. Deciding that “the demon has become more humble than a lamb,” one of them pronounces the word “nose” and immediately gets a slap in the face from Cyrano.
With letters from Cyrano Christian wins the love of the capricious Roxanne. She gives him a night date. Standing under the balcony, Christian babbles unintelligibly, and Roxanne is ready to leave. Cyrano comes to the aid of the handsome man in love. Hidden among the foliage, he whispers delightful words of love, loudly repeated by Christian. Fascinated by Cyrano's poems, Roxanne agrees to give her lover a kiss.
Roxanne's love is also achieved by the powerful Comte de Guiche, the commander of the regiment where Cyrano and Christian serve. De Guiche sends a Capuchin to Roxanne with a letter asking her to see her before leaving for the war. Roxanne, reading the letter, changes its content and convinces the monk that it contains an order to marry her to Christian de Neuville. While the holy father is performing the marriage ceremony, Cyrano, putting on a mask, pretends to be a madman in order to detain de Guiche. Finally, the procedure is completed, and the tired Cyrano discards the mask that is no longer needed. Convinced that he was deceived, the enraged de Guiche orders Cyrano and Christian to immediately go to the barracks: at dawn the regiment sets out on a campaign. "They are quite far from their wedding night! .." - he adds mockingly, looking at Christian, who has embraced Roxanne.
Frontline. A regiment of Gascon Guards is surrounded by the enemy on all sides. The soldiers are starving. Cyrano does his best to keep them cheerful. He himself, unbeknownst to Christian, makes his way through the enemy posts every morning to send another letter to Roxana: Christian promised to write to her every day ...
Suddenly, Roxana arrives at the camp; the words "I'm going to a friend of my heart!" served as her password, and the enemy let her carriage pass. Embracing the astonished Christian, Roxanne confesses: his "wondrous letters" transformed her, and if at first "in her frivolity" she fell in love with him for his beauty, now she is "carried away" by the "invisible beauty": "She would remain true to her love if, by the wave of the wand of some sorceress, all your beauty has disappeared! .. ”Christian is horrified: Roxana's confession means that she loves not him, but Cyrano. Christian tells Cyrano about everything and is going to confess to Roxanne in his deception. The specter of happiness flashes in front of Cyrano again. But an enemy bullet strikes Christian, and he dies in the arms of Roxanne, without having time to tell her anything. On his chest Roxanne finds a farewell letter written on behalf of Christian to the desperate Cyrano. Roxanne's grief is endless, and the noble Cyrano decides to keep Christian's secret. Ten years have passed. Roxanne lives in a monastery and wears mourning. Once a week, always at the same time, Cyrano visits her to give her the latest news. The poet is poor, he made many enemies for himself, and then one day "a terrible log suddenly fell from the window and smashed the head of Cyrano who was passing by by chance." The misfortune happens on the day Cyrano usually visits Roxanne.
Roxanne is surprised - Cyrano is late for the first time. Finally, a deathly pale de Bergerac appears. After listening to his cousin's playful reproaches, he asks her to allow him to read Christian's farewell letter. Forgotten, he begins to read it aloud. Roxanne looks at Cyrano in amazement: it's completely dark outside ... Then she finally realizes what role Cyrano has been playing voluntarily for ten years already ... "So why did you suddenly decide today to break your secret seal?" She asks desperately. Cyrano takes off his hat: his head is tied. “On Saturday, September sixteenth, the poet de Bergerac was killed by the hand of a villain,” he says in a mocking tone. "Oh my God! All my life I have loved one, and now I am losing this dear creature for the second time! " - Roxana exclaims, wringing her hands. Cyrano, snatching his sword, begins to strike invisible enemies - lies, meanness, slander and dies with a sword in his hand.