Sacrifice: a Doll's House and Cyrano

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The word sacrifice is defined as the act of forfeiting one thing for another thing considered to be of greater value. The theme of sacrifice is one that is exemplified throughout both Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, the story of a selfless hero, and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, which depicts the life of a woman in the 19th century. In these two plays, sacrifice takes many forms: the entity that is given up can be a something material, something physical, or even something abstract. Comparable examples of sacrifices can be seen in both plays, whether it be for love, for the happiness of others, or for pride. In Cyrano de Bergerac, the protagonist, Cyrano de Bergerac, makes many sacrifices. For example, the poetic swordsman shows that he would "[r]isk [his] life every morning before breakfast / to send a letter" (Rostand 130). Through the act of crossing through enemy territory just to send a letter to the woman he loves, Cyrano proves that he will even give up his life just so that he can profess his love. This instance demonstrates his noble and almost heroic nature. In another example later in the story, the Gascon Guard explains the sacrifices he has made for the happiness of others when he exclaims, "It was always so! / While I stood in the darkness underneath, / others climbed up to win the applause…" (192). Here, Cyrano demonstrates his generous nature by explaining how he was forced to watch as another man stepped forward to take credit for his beautiful poetry. This sacrifice points out our hero's willingness to refrain from seeking the woman he loves just so that his friend can be happy. Finally, when death has its grip upon him, Cyrano shows the sacrifice that he has made so that Christian can keep his pride: ROXANE:

Why were you silent for so many years,
All the while, every night and every day,
He gave me nothing… You knew
Here, in this letter lying on my breast,
Your tears - the tears were your tears -
The blood was his. (190)...
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