What are three examples of Cyrano's development as a Chivalric character in Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of his main character Edmond Rostand observed that he has "panache": "not greatness ... but something which ... stirs above it ... the spirit of gallantry.' Certainly, Cyrano de Bergerac captures chivalry and wit in every act. But, there are three salient acts of chivalry in this drama:

1. In Act II, although Cyrano himself is deeply in love with his cousin Roxane, he agrees to watch over Christian when Roxane comes to him with her loving plea for the soldier of the Gascony guards with whom she is infatuated. And, although Cyrano believes at first that she thinks of him, but is disappointed when she calls the man "handsome." Nonetheless, he agrees ironically with Roxane's statement that she and Cyrano are such good friends that he can help her obtain the man's love,

There's nothing finer than


2. Also in Act II, despite his being desperate in love with Roxane himself and despite Christian's insults about his nose, Cyrano gallantly assists Christian in his love affair by helping him with a letter to the pretty maiden. As Christian frets about his skills with love poetry, Cyrano suggests facetiously, but yet with some gallantry, that Christian borrow his talents,

Well, why not borrow it!

And, in return, I'll borrow your good looks.

There's promising albegra here: you plus I

Equal one hero of the story books.

3. Then, in the final act, Act V, as he is dying, Cyrano yet retains his staunch devotion to his code of honor. Covering his fatal head wound with a hat to disguise the bandage, Cyrano acts as though nothing is different when Roxane visits him; he recites his daily "gazette" of satiric news.When Roxane asks about his wounds, he makes light of them; then, she replies,

We all of usĀ 

Have our old wounds

and she pulls a yellowed letter, bloodstained, from her bosom. Cyrano reminds her that she has promised to read Christian's dying letter to him. As Cyrano, then, reads the letter, night approaches. Yet, he is still able to "read" this barely legible letter. So, Roxane deduces that it has been Cyrano all along with whom she has been in love; nevertheless, Cyrano protests, "Upon my honour....I never loved you."

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Cyrano de Bergerac

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