Why does Christian come to the play in Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Christian de Neuvillette is one of the main characters in Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, and we meet him in the first act of the play. In scene two, he is nervously making the rounds in the theatre with Ligniere, being introduced to everyone but constantly looking up into the boxes, as if he is hoping to see someone special. 

After a time, Ligniere wants to leave but Christian rather desperately asks him to stay:

No, no! You, who are ballad-maker to Court and City alike, can tell me

better than any who the lady is for whom I die of love. Stay yet awhile.

Ridiculous as it may sound, Christian has come to the theatre tonight in order to discover the identity of the woman he claims to desperately love, and Ligniere knows everyone and is the perfect man for this job. Christian is in a terrible state of mind, afraid Ligniere will leave before he can identify this woman for him and worried that he will never be worthy of such a woman if he does ever get to meet her. 

Christian eventually manages to convince Ligniere to stay by buying him something to drink (drink is Ligniere's weakness), and then the mystery woman arrives. Ligniere easily identifies her as 

Magdaleine Robin--Roxane, so called! A subtle wit--a precieuse....

An orphan. The cousin of Cyrano....

This is dismaying news to Christian, as he feels quite inadequate to be in connected to such an intimidating woman; however, he came to the theatre tonight in order to discover her identity and that is what he did. 

Read the study guide:
Cyrano de Bergerac

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