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The Weight Of Honor Essay

888 words - 4 pages

In the play Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand proves with the character Cyrano and his struggles with physical identity that honor is courageously holding up to one's promises and not taking credit for another’s work despite the consequences.

Cyrano struggles with his appearance, which in turn affects his honesty in his relationship with Roxane. In the beginning, Cyrano describes his definition of honor in response to De Guiche’s offer of patronage from the Cardinal. To get the patronage, the cardinal would want to rewrite some of the lines. Cyrano refuses and haughtily replies, “Seek for the patronage of some great man, and like a creeping wine on a tall tree/crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone” (Rostand 88). Cyrano makes it clear that his description of honor means doing one’s own work. This is why he reacts the way he does. He believes that even if he becomes a successful writer by the cardinal’s patronage, receiving aid from the cardinal would just annul his worthiness of being successful. Honesty and truthfulness to him are all important aspects of an honorable person. He does not want to be a parasite- he wants to be known for his own genuine work or not known at all. Later in the play, when Cyrano is concealed by the darkness, he confesses to Roxane how he truly feels about her. Cyrano feels that despite his other merits, women, namely Roxane, will never love him because of his “grotesque” appearance. When he has the cloak of shadows to conceal his face, his utilizes the opportunity to reveal his true feelings, saying, “Night, making all things dimly beautiful,/one veil over us both-You will only see/The darkness of a long cloak in the gloom, And I the whiteness of a summer gown-You are all light-I am all shadow!” (124). Cyrano keeps his love for Roxane secret because he believes she will never love him due to his appearance. It is evident throughout the play that Cyrano is insecure about his nose, and this is why he helps Christian woo Roxane- because he believes that Christian’s beauty is much more important than his intelligence or wit. Later in the play, Cyrano contradicts his own definition of honor when he lies to Christian about the teardrops on the letter. When Christian asks, dumbstruck, whether he was crying, Cyrano coolly answers, “There’s half the charm of writing-Now, this letter as you see? I have made so pathetic that I wept while I was writing it,” (166). Being honorable is being honest, and Cyrano is not displaying these traits when he lies to Christian...

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