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Scene 5 Summary
Roxane has passed through the ravages of war in the service of her king, which is love. Using her smile as a passport and telling the gallant Spaniards that she was going to see her lover, she has charmed her way through enemy lines. No one can believe she has risked her life to come here; and everyone wants her to leave at once. No one, however, dares to tell here that they will soon be going into battle. When she deduces the situation, she claims that she wants to stay and die with Christian. She also accuses De Guiche of trying to make her a widow, by having her husband killed in the battle. The cadets are filled with admiration for her courage and stirred to battle to defend her.
At the end of the last scene, the Cadets have all lined up, bowing low in expectation of the arrival of the king. They are fully shocked when Roxane emerges from the carriage. They are not expecting a beautiful woman in their midst. They respond by stating that the camp suddenly smells of irises and by promising to defend her.
The scene reveals new facets of Roxane. Her impulsiveness in coming and her ability to charm the Spanish soldiers are not surprising, for she has been previously pictured as charming and impulsive; but now her keen sense of adventure and her courage are also seen, for she has risked her life to come to the Gascon camp. Since these latter qualities are not thought to be appropriate for fine ladies of intelligence, Rostand tempers her actions by her explanation that the driving force for her has been love. Roxane then further proves her courage by accusing De Guiche of casting the cadets into battle in order to make her a widow. Through her bold actions, she shows that she has everything it takes to be a successful Gascon fighter; only her sex prevents her from being given that opportunity. She still says, however, that she will not leave the battlefield, for she wants to die with her husband.