IB World Literature
April 29, 2014
WL #1 WC:
Loyalty Overrules Love
As popular author Nicole Yatsonsky says, “Your truest friends are the ones who will stand by you in your darkest moments – Because they're willing to brave the shadows with you – and in your greatest moments – because they're not afraid to let you shine.” Similarly, in the heroic, romantic comedy, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, Cyrano, a passionate and talented poet cursed with an exceedingly long nose, helps Christian, a handsome yet dim-witted man, win the love of Roxane, the girl both have pined after for years. Through a series of correspondences between Cyrano (posing as Christian), and Roxane, Roxane falls deeply in love with Christian. In turn, Cyrano falls for Roxane. Despite his feelings for Roxane, Cyrano backs off and allows, even helps, the two lovers get married. In Cyrano de Bergerac, playwright Edmond Rostand uses Cyrano’s relationship with Roxane as well as his friendship with Christian to prove the theme that loyalty forms a bond stronger than love.
To begin, Rostand proves the theme that loyalty forms a bond that proves more durable than love through Cyrano’s relationship with Roxane. At one point, Cyrano and Roxane reminisce about their childhood at Ragueneau’s bakery. Roxane remembers fondly, “Sometimes when you had a hurt hand you used to come running to me and I would be your mother”(Rostand 72; Act 2). Even before Cyrano became romantically interested in Roxane, the cousins had a strong friendship built on loyalty and willingness to care for another. Now that Cyrano is infatuated with Roxane, his desire to help her continues strong, regardless of the cost to himself. Putting his own interests aside, he helps the foolish Christian earn Roxane’s love. Even as Cyrano orchestrates events to help Christian win Roxane over, Cyrano himself recites an impromptu poem to Roxane. “A kiss,” he says, “The word is sweet – what will the deed be?”(Rostand 131; Act 3). Although longing to kiss Roxane himself, Cyrano allows Christian to take his place and actually do the deed. Over and over again, Cyrano displays his devotion to Roxane by doing what he thinks will fulfill her life; he sacrifices his own happiness for what he perceives will bring about the happiness of his dear friend. Later, when circumstances force Christian and Cyrano to go off to war, Cyrano helps the star-crossed lovers get married quickly and secretly. He does so by distracting De Guiche, a man who attempts to stop the union because of his own lust toward Roxane. Although witnessing their joy must wound Cyrano deeply, he follows through with his sacrificial act of devotion. Tragically, Christian dies shortly after the marriage in an unexpected ambush on the battlefield. Following her husband’s death, Roxane ultimately chooses to live out the remainder of her days in a convent, mourning the loss of a man she thought she loved. Meanwhile, the...