How the changed or maintained themes of Cyrano De Bergerac and its appropriation Roxanne illustrates the context each was produced in

Essay by vivHigh School, 11th grade August 2004

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"The relationship between the texts you have studied and their respective cultural context is significant because it provides insight into the way values have been maintained and changed. Discuss with reference to the text from the past and its appropriation."

Although Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano De Bergerac" and its modern day appropriation "Roxanne," share a similar plot and some themes, their respective cultural context reflects how values such as feminism, relationships, virtue and sacrifice have evolved over time while ideologies such "beauty being only skin deep" proves itself a universally accepted and valued paradigm, sustaining itself unaltered despite the vast changes culturally and structurally through time.

Cyrano de Bergerac places strong emphasis on the values of sacrifice and virtue. Cyrano is the play's eloquent and ardent defender of integrity, bravery and glory. He makes the offer to help Christian win Roxanne, even though he himself is deeply in love with her ("Take the soul...of

mine, and breathe it into you"!) The play's main conflict is Cyrano's inability to tell Roxanne how much he loves her out of his own sacrificing nature and his emotional insecurity derived from his physicality ("I am so alone...because I am so ugly.") In order to preserve Christians' name even after his death ("I shall protect your baron") Cyrano does not confess his secret until his death, which though tragic, is also transcendent-- ("There is one crown I bear away with me...My white plume...") he may die, but his honor would remain pure and unstained. The play suggests that by adhering to his values at the expense of his personal desire, Cyrano achieves an ideal, untarnished moral standing. Contextually, the nineteenth century audience celebrated Cyrano as a heroic figure, illustrating how virtue and self-sacrifice was valued above happiness and personal desire. In...