Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Tragedy of Roxanne

Cyrano de Bergerac is a wonderful play and a great character. He is swashbuckling and quick witted while at the same time tender and romantic. He is the perfect blend of bravado and poetic. But when you get to the final act of the play, the catharsis is not his.

Through the whole story he has pined away after the beautiful Roxanne, but has been too self-conscious of his trademark large nose to ever allow himself to believe that she could love him. He is the one that gives his rival the poetry he needs to win the lady and in a sense Cyrano lives vicariously through his triumph.

As all good tragic love stories go, the lady finally figures out who truly loves her and who's soul she loves in return only too late. The dying Cyrano comes to her in his last moments and only then does she realize who he really is to her. But this is not Cyrano's tragedy. He has had all he could ever wish for: his lady's friendship and the chance to serve her. That was all he ever needed after he resigned himself to never be worthy of her in his mind. She, on the other hand, only begins to realize the loss of a fulfilling life and relationship as he slips away in her arms. Her loss is larger indeed.

Take the time to reread the whole play from her perspective. How does this change the outlook on everything?

Happy Birthday: Patrick Swayze (b. 1952) and Robert Redford (b. 1936)

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