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Scene 2 and 3 Summary
When they rise the next morning, the cadets complain of their hunger and threaten to mutiny. Captain Carbon appeals to Cyrano to come forth from his tent and handle the situation. Cyrano obliges. He tries to joke about the Cadet's hunger by punning on their complaints and offering them The Iliad, which he is reading, as food for thought. When he realizes that is wit is not helping to cheer up the cadets, he calls the regiment piper to play Gascon tunes. Carbon protests, saying the songs about home will make the cadets weep. Cyrano explains that it is more noble to weep from homesickness than from hunger.
When a drum roll is heard, the cadets become excited. When Cyrano sees that De Guiche is approaching, he warns the cadets not to let this man, whom they mock as a mere courtier and not a soldier, see how miserable they are.
When the cadets wake and threaten mutiny, Cyrano is called to calm them. His interaction with the cadets reveals his natural leadership and his keen wit. To try and cheer the cadets, he gives French proverbs about hunger and wittily comments on them.
When the wit fails to work on the cadets, he orders the piper to play folk songs from the homeland, hoping to inspire the cadets with a desire to fight and live so that they can eventually return home. Although the cadets weep at the sound of the songs, Cyrano declares it is better to weep from homesickness than from hunger.
It is interesting that Cyrano is reading The Iliad, a classic text about the Trojan War, and offers to the cadets as food for thought to alleviate their hunger. In that war, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy for a very long time before the action started and that is the obvious parallel here, for the cadets wait for the fighting to begin. It is also interesting to note that in World War I, Cyrano de Bergerac was the favorite thing to read among the French troops.