Cyrano's Tragic Flaw

Essay by syunukiya March 2005

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The Tragic Flaw of Cyrano de Bergerac (Final Draft)

A proverb of the wise king of Israel named Solomon once said, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." In the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, nothing could be farther from the truth, for a character named Cyrano has this characteristic. According to Webster's dictionary, pride is the quality or state of being proud, which is an ostentatious display of oneself. Cyrano de Bergerac was one of the greatest swordsmen in France; therefore, his pride is partially justified. However, Cyrano's tragic flaw of pride could ultimately lead him to his demise.

In the beginning of the play, Cyrano displays his wit, swordsmanship, and primarily his pride. For instance, when Cyrano ends the play at the Hôtel de Bourgogne by ordering Montfleury off stage, he pays the owner of the Hôtel, named Jodelet, his entire month's wages.

Cyrano is not a rich person, yet his pride kept him from withholding his money. He knew before this incident that he would have to refund the owner's money. To keep up his appearance with people Cyrano gave a generous gift in front of the disturbed crowd. When his friend Le Bret confronted him about this action, he said "Yes, but what a gesture" (47). Cyrano knew that he wanted to be polite, yet also take pride in his preparedness. Additionally, when De Guiche gives Cyrano the chance to have his play performed (with the revision of a few lines), Cyrano became furious and (at that time) would not allow a single stroke of his pen to be changed. This was his chance to become rich, yet he did not want to follow anyone. His pride ate away at his possibilities to enhance the comparatively dull literature of French society...