Cyrano de Bergerac

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Transcript Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de
By Edmond
About the author
• born in Marseilles, France in 1868
• as a college student in Paris, he fell in love with
French literature and theater.
• first play, Le Gant Rouge, was produced when he was
only 20 years old
• Each new play proved more successful than the
previous one, and Rostand’s name lured prominent
actors and actresses to star in his productions.
Drama in the 1800s…
•Late 19th century theater dominated by grim, realistic stories
and unsentimental characters
Realism - the depiction of subjects as they appear in everyday
In theater, a movement towards greater fidelity to real life
•Rostand felt that the French people had forgotten the values
and ideals that made them a proud and virtuous people, the
qualities and character that made them honorable and
specifically French.
Along comes Cyrano…
• Cyrano de Bergerac was sensationally popular and Rostand’s
greatest triumph
• Rostand departed from the realist tradition to present a
historical romance, set in the 1640s and featuring a
swashbuckling hero who is also a poet, using words as
effectively as weapons.
• Audiences loved the play’s passionate love story, comedy,
fast-paced action, and tragic ending.
• Above all, they responded powerfully to the larger-than-life
character of Cyrano, the genius hero with a ridiculously long
Your nose is . . . very big.
Rostand Forever
• Rostand died in 1918, but his most popular creation
continues to live on in hundreds of productions.
• Most recently, 2 popular films: the French Cyrano de
Bergerac, starring Gerard Depardieu, and the modernized
American adaptation, Roxanne, starring Steve Martin
The Play’s the Thing…
• Though written in 1897, the play evokes an even
older era: France during the age of Louis XIII.
• In the 19th century, it was popular to recall this
seventeenth-century era as France’s golden age—a
time when men were musketeers, women were
beautiful heiresses, and the wit flashed as brightly
as the swordplay.
• In fact, Alexandre Dumas had published his famous
romance, The Three Musketeers, a half-century
before Cyrano took to the stage. Cyrano parodied,
paid homage to, and proved itself a blatant copy of
Dumas’s popular novel.
• Play within a play
The Play’s the Thing…
• Nineteenth-century audiences viewed Cyrano’s
honesty, courage, wit, passion, and extraordinary
willpower as the embodiment of this lost golden
• When first performed in Paris on December 28,
1897, the audience applauded for a full hour after
the final curtain was drawn. Played for 500
performances. A classic was created on that night,
and an unforgettable hero of literature was born.
• Vaguely follows Aristotle’s unities
– One basic geographic location
– One main character- the remainder of
characters are merely “bit actors”
Will the real Cyrano de Bergerac please stand
• The real Cyrano de Bergerac is a novelist and
playwright who lived from 1619 to 1655, around the
same time as the fictional Cyrano. The real Cyrano
probably inspired the idea for Rostand’s protagonist,
but the play’s events, as well as its other characters,
are solely the product of Rostand’s imagination.
Cyrano de Bergerac
the historical character
• Born Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac in
1616 – big nose and all…
• From prominent – not noble – family
• Wrote poetry, political pamphlets, some
plays – Moliere did in fact use two scenes
written by Cyrano!
• His high courage and equally high spirit
made him many enemies and gained him
a reputation as a romantic hero
Romanticism & the Romantic Hero
Romanticism – the main source of inspiration for
Romanticism came from the events and ideologies of
the French Revolution. Romanticism is a movement
away from the “Age of Enlightenment” that preceded
it, wherein the focus was on reason and logic.
Characteristics of Romantic Literature -- Love of
Nature, Emotional Expression, Artist - the Creator,
Nationalism, Exoticism, and Supernatural
The Romantic Hero
Romantic Hero - literary
archetype of a character that
rejects established norms and
conventions, has been rejected by
society, and has the self as the
center of his or her own existence.
The Romantic Hero
Characteristics of the romantic hero:
1. Usually protagonist
2. focus on character's thoughts rather than actions.
3. placed outside the structure of civilization; represents
the force of physical nature, yet with a sense of power
and often leadership, that society has impoverished
itself by rejecting.
4. introspection, the triumph of the individual over the
restraints of theological and social conventions,
wanderlust, melancholy, misanthropy, alienation, and
• However, another common trait of the Romantic hero
is regret for his actions, and self-criticism, often
leading to philanthropy, which stops the character from
ending tragically.
Cyrano de Bergerac
A Romantic Comedy
• Complexity of plot
• Contains elements of satire
• Unlikely hero triumphs because of his
• Mimics bourgeoisie manners
• Trivialized cult of appearances - dandy
• Extensive monologues using subtle wit,
alliteration, and double entendres
Cyrano de Bergerac
about the play
• Cyrano de Bergerac – our hero
• Roxanne his precieuse – a person of
highly affected language manners and
dress – appearance was of utmost
• Christian de Neuvillette – good looking
• Compte de Guiche – the villain
• Ragueneau – poet, baker friend of Cyrano
Cyrano de Bergerac
about the play
Ligniere – drunk singer of satiric songs
Valvert – a dandy friend of de Guiche
Montfluerry – a horrible actor
And many, many, more…..
My, what a big nose you have!
• Cyrano’s nose
• The love letters
• The plume
• War/fighting
Cyrano’s Themes
Values and Virtue
Inner and Outer Beauty
The Danger in Deception
Appearance versus Reality
Honor Loyalty Sacrifice
Key Concepts
• Chivalry
• Courtly Love
Character list 1.
Cyrano de Bergerac Roxane Baron Christian de Neuvillette Comte de Guiche Ragueneau Le Bret Ligniere The duenna Vicomte de Valvert Montfleury Carbon de Castel-Jaloux Bellerose Lise Capuchin monkMother Marguerite de Jesus, Sister Claire, Sister Marthe Cardinal Richelieu -