Samuel Shapiro Mrs. Strasser
Cyrano de Bergerac: Tragedy Nose No Limits
While many works of fiction portray love through a utopian perspective where true love is easy to achieve, the story of Cyrano follows a failed quest for intimacy, where Cyrano’s own tragic flaws stop him from achieving the romance he dreams of. It is these same tragic flaws that help to define Cyrano as a tragic hero in Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, and it is these same flaws that eventually lead to Cyrano’s tragic fall. However, some of these flaws are also the admirable traits of the large-nosed hero’s character that also help to define him as hero. Due to this fact, Cyrano is able to gain respect from others, but never truly reaches his ultimate goal of having Roxane’s love. While Cyrano never truly experiences Roxane’s love, he still manages to make her fall in love with his eloquence and honesty of emotion. Still, Cyrano chooses not to pursue his opportunity for love because his own personal code of honor would not permit him to do so. Cyrano can be defined as a tragic hero due to the fact that his chances of reaching happiness are destroyed by his own inner and outer flaws, leading to his own tragic fall.
As opposed to Christian, his handsome yet unsophisticated counterpart, Cyrano possesses a unique, enlightened mind, but is matched by an unattractive profile. The unfortunate match of Cyrano’s different characteristics creates aspects of his personality that are considered his tragic flaws. One of Cyrano’s most notable traits is his large nose, which gives him a rather uncouth appearance. However, it is not the nose itself that is Cyrano’s flaw, but the lack of confidence it gives him when he dreams of having the love of a woman that never leaves his thoughts. It is this self doubt that prevents the protagonist of Rostand’s play from chasing after Roxane as his lover, as Cyrano explains to Le Bret, “Look at me and tell me what hope this protuberance might leave me! I have no illusions… My friend, I have bad moments now and then, feeling myself so ugly, all alone…”(50). Cyrano’s uncertainty stops him from initially making any attempts at seeking Roxane’s love, as well as making him incredulous about the idea of Roxane loving him in return. Along with his lack of self-confidence, Cyrano has an incredibly strong sense of selflessness that causes him to go to outrageous lengths to aid others. While a respectable trait, his extreme sense of selflessness also forces Cyrano to curb his emotions for Roxane, creating another mental blockade for Cyrano’s non-existent happiness. The combination of all the negative aspects of Cyrano’s traits is a key factor in what eventually lead to Cyrano’s tragic fall.
Throughout the play, Cyrano never truly reaches the great height or high esteem to the extent of other tragic heroes, such as Oedipus and Macbeth, have reached. Nevertheless, Cyrano still goes through the tragic fall that all tragic her...