Name three uses of metaphors, similies, irony, foreshadowing, or hyperbole.

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There are numerous examples of literary devices being used in Edmond Rostand's 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac.

A metaphor is a comparison between two things, not using the words "like" or "as." The following lines appear in act III:

True, far above; at such a height ‘twere death
If a hard word from you fell on my heart.

Here, Cyrano is speaking with Roxane. They are speaking on the power of words. Cyrano is, metaphorically, stating that any negativity from Roxane would be the end of him. He is so in love with her that anything negative that she might say would bring about death for him. Therefore, while the word itself would fall on him, it would be the dismissing of his love for her that would bring about death itself.

It is in act III, again, that readers can find an example of a simile:

And if my nature lacks the germ that grows
Towering to heaven like the mountain pine
. . . I stand, not high it may be—but alone!

A simile is a comparison between two things using either "like" or "as." Here, the speaker is comparing "my nature" to a "germ" (or seed) which grows toward "heaven like a mountain pine." Essentially, this "nature" refers to who a person, or in this case a character, is. In this example, Cyrano states that he will be who he will be, and even if it means that he will be alone, he will be himself. The simile is the comparison of his "nature" to a "towering . . . mountain pine."

Verbal irony is when someone states something opposite to how they actually feel. The following lines appear in act II:

Well, what if it be my vice,
My pleasure to displease—to love men hate me!

Cyrano does not actually want to make anyone unhappy (displeased). He does not actually want anyone to hate him, either. In fact, the play circulates around Cyrano's desire to help those around him. He only says this to make it look as though he does not care.

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Many examples can easily be found in or around Cyrano's "nose" speech--when he is insulting Valvert's lack of wit, then fighting a duel with him.  I'll give you one example of each; you can certainly find more on your own.

Metaphor - "'Tis a rock--a crag--a cape--...a peninsula!"

Simile - "I do not dress up like a popinjay!"

Irony - "But I have no gloves!  A pity too!"  (verbal irony--he so wishes he had some gloves!)

Hyperbole - "When it blows, the typhoon howls....When it bleeds, the Red Sea!"


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