Throughout Edmond Rostand's classic play, Cyrano de Bergerac, the title character, Cyrano, is a passionate writer whose complex and rich personal qualities are the foundation of his peerless eloquence. Cyrano's unrivaled sense of humor is a defense against those who humiliate him for his outlandish appearance. For example, during the "nose" speech, Cyrano challenges Valvert with twenty stunningly varied and complex alternative suggestions, one more stinging than the next, to replace Valvert's banal attempt at insult. Cyrano's retaliation against Valvert's feeble attempt at embarrassment backfires as Cyrano destroys his opponent with a tirade of ingenious examples of how better to insult "the nose": "It's a rock, a peak, a cape! No, more than a cape: a peninsula!" (41). In addition to Cyrano's wit, his language is deeply thought-out and rich with poetic imagination. Cyrano amplifies upon a single word by using concrete words to spin a simple concept into a memorable poetic experience. Cyrano illustrates the value of Christian's need for a kiss from Roxane: "After all, what is a kiss? A vow made at closer range, a more precise promise, a confession that contains its own proof, a seal placed on a pact that has already been signed; it's a secret told to the mouth rather than to the ear, a fleeting moment filled with the hush of eternity
" (126). Furthermore, it is in compensation for Cyrano's great suffering that his verbal style is so sensitive and brilliant. He will always love in vain: 2
"Look at me and tell me what hope this protuberance might leave me!
I go into a garden, smelling the fragrance of spring with my poor monstrous nose, and watch a man and a woman strolling together in the moonlight. I think how much I, too, would like to be walking arm in arm with a woman, under the moon" (51). Incorporating cleverness and eloquence into his language, Cyrano replies to Le Bret's sympathy with the response that he would never let a "sublime" tear be...