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Scene 6 and 7 Summary
When Carbon introduces Roxane to the Cadets, he asks her to give up her lace handkerchief to serve as the banner of the cadets; she gladly obliges. When one of the men mentions his hunger to her, she tells them that she has brought food and sends them to the carriage. While Ragueneau, serving as the coachman, takes out the edible delicacies, Roxane distributes them to the cadets. Cyrano urgently draws Christian aside to talk to him, but the latter is called away to help with the food. While he carves the meat, he presses Roxane about her real reason for coming; however, she will not talk to him until after the feast is over.
When De Guiche re-enters the camp, the food is quickly hidden from view. As a result, he is amazed by the gaiety that he perceives. He has come to bring the cadets a cannon, but he warns them about its recoil action. He also asks Roxane if she really intends to stay on at the camp. When she gives her positive response, he calls for a musket and says that he will stay and protect her. The cadets are so impressed by his offer that they give him the remaining food from the feast. Although he is tempted by his hunger, De Guiche is too proud to accept it. He is then applauded by all as a true Gascon.
When Carbon asks De Guiche to inspect the pikeman, he asks Roxane to accompany him. This gives Cyrano the opportunity to warn Christian that he must acknowledge having written the letters that Roxane has received. Christian is amazed at the news and questions him about the letters and their dispatch. When Cyrano explains how he has crossed enemy lines to get the letters to Roxane, Christian sarcastically remarks that writing them must have been an intoxicating experience, for Cyrano was willing to risk death for them; there is a touch of jealousy in his criticism. Roxane's return, however, suspends their conversation.
Scenes 5 through 7 are probably the weakest ones in the play, for they border on the totally ridiculous and unbelievable. It is hard to imagine that a woman, even an impulsive and determined one like Roxane, would risk her life to come to the front and be successful in charming the Spanish soldiers to let her through enemy lines. The irony is that she has been spurred to come in order to see Christian, her new husband, because of letters she has been receiving, supposedly written by him. In truth, it is Cyrano's poetic words that have drawn her to the front.
When Roxane does succeed in arriving, it is not surprising that she has an immediate effect on everyone. Not only does she bring the smell of iris to the camp, her arrival causes the unkempt cadets to rush and try to make themselves presentable. Her presence is not just an inspiration but a civilizing influence on these soldiers who are soon going to be cannon fodder. Even De Guiche is impressed with Roxane's courage. When she says she is going to stay on in the camp during the battle, he calls for a musket and promises to remain and defend her.
When one of the cadets mentions his hunger, Roxane reveals that she has brought a feast with her. It serves as a type of last supper for the cadets. It also proves Roxane's kindness and inventiveness; she has managed to conceal the food in the strangest places. A sausage has even been hidden in the coachman's whip. The feast, largely prepared by Ragueneau, the former pastry chef who is now in Roxane's service, gives him an opportunity to provide some poetry; as always, his metaphors are trite, comparing Roxane to Venus and wine flasks to rubies.
In spite of the general merriment in the camp, Cyrano is a bag of nerves. He has has never informed Christian about the numerous letters that he has sent to Roxane in Christian's name. When he first tries to explain what he has done, Christian is called away to carve the meat. Later he has the opportunity to make his confession when De Guiche asks Roxane to accompany him on his inspection of the pikeman.
At the end of scene 7, Christian's vehement outburst to Cyrano suggests that his jealousy has at last found an object. The strong reaction is a first step by Rostand of alienating the audience from the handsome cadet and solidifying support for Cyrano, the protagonist.