Title- The Value of Altruism Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand Prompt- Explain how Rostand uses three central characters in her novel to further her theme,

Essay by cheater987High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2003

download word file, 4 pages 3.8

Downloaded 74 times

Erich Fromm, a famous American psychologist, once said, "Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either." A century earlier Edmond Rostand, a brilliant writer who sought to look back to the romantic past, argued this same point in his play Cyrano De Bergerac. Through three of his central characters in the play, Cryano, Christian, and De Guiche, Rostand proves this theme that respect and honor are always won through selflessness.

Rostand illustrates the value of selflessness through his protagonist Cyrano de Bergerac, who commands great honor and respect even among his enemies. Cyrano's unselfish nature is first shown when he offers to help Christian win Roxane, even though he himself is deeply in love with her. "Come shall we win her both together? Take the soul within this learthern jack of mine, and breathe it into you?"(85). In offering himself to help Christian earn the love of Roxane, Cyrano is willing to sacrifice any claim to have her as his own.

He gives Christian his wit, his words and his very soul. Because of this completely unselfish act from which he expects to receive no return, he earns the deepest respect and honor from Christian. This theme of self-sacrifice recurs throughout the play and it becomes apparent that Cyrano thinks of himself little and does not care for worldly

Jenkins 2

possessions. De Guiche states this perfectly when at the end of the novel he discusses the poverty of Cyrano. "Yes, I know- I have all; He has nothing. Nevertheless, today I should be proud to shake his hand." (178). De Guiche, Cyrano's enemy through much of the novel, comes to respect him greatly for his lack of self-interest. He remarks that though Cyrano is desperately poor, his friends must...