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Scenes 12 and 13 Summary
While Cyrano sits on the rail of the balcony waiting to divert De Guiche, the lutes begin to play a sinister and mournful tune. When De Guiche arrives in mask, Cyrano swings down and lands between him and the door, pretending to be a lunatic who has fallen from the moon. He keeps De Guiche engaged with his chatter about "six ways to violate the virgin sky" and get to the moon. Throughout this dialogue Cyrano speaks with a Gascon accent and keeps his nose concealed with the brim of his hat in order to hide his identity from De Guiche.
When the newly married Roxane and Christian emerge from the house, De Guiche grasps the situation. He acknowledges Roxane's cleverness and Cyrano's powers of invention in keeping him occupied. Wanting revenge, however, De Guiche orders that all the cadets must join the regiment and leave for Arras immediately. The distraught Roxane begs Cyrano to ensure Christian's safety, comfort and fidelity. She also asks for regular letters, which Cyrano promises.
This scene is filled with intentional pathos. Poor Cyrano is left outside to wait for and delay De Guiche while his true love marries Christian inside the house. When De Guiche arrives in mask, the clever Cyrano chatters to him to delay his entering Roxane's house and discovering the wedding that is in progress. Although Cyrano's conversation is intentionally filled with wit and lunacy in order to trick De Guiche, it also reveals his true interest in science; he talks about the constellations of Great Bear and Orion, about the German astronomer and inventor named Regomontanus, and about six possible ways for man to reach the moon. Cyrano is truly a man of the Enlightenment, interested in and knowledgeable about many varied subjects.
The act ends with a tragic-comic-ironic reversal. Cyrano, who loves Roxane dearly, has helped Christian to win her love; she now emerges as Christian's wife, largely due to the efforts of Cyrano. Whenever Christian speaks for himself, Roxane does not like him; however, when Cyrano speaks for Christian, Roxane is enamored by the words. It is clear that she has married the wrong man. The philandering De Guiche is simply upset that she has married, for he had his own designs on the beautiful Roxane. To punish her hastiness, Christian's victory, and Cyrano's craftiness, he orders that all of the cadets, including Christian and Cyrano, immediately report to the regiment to leave for Arras. Poor Christian and Roxane will not be able to spend a moment together as husband and wife.
Before her husband departs, Roxane begs Cyrano to watch out for Christian's safety, comfort, and fidelity. She also tells Cyrano to make certain that Christian writes letters regularly. Cyrano, of course, will be the one to pen the letters. The thought of writing his true love delights him, even if he cannot sign the letters as his own.