Summary and Analysis
Act V — Scene 5
Roxane works on her tapestry, and does not notice that Cyrano is pale. Sister Marthe, whom he teases as usual, thinks that his pallor is caused by hunger. Cyrano begins his witty, amusing account of the week's gossip, and then nearly faints for a moment. He asks to see Roxane's last letter from Christian. Roxane gives it to him, and he reads it aloud. Roxane recognizes the voice that she heard under her balcony so long ago. She realizes that it is dark, that Cyrano could not be reading the letter but must be quoting from memory. She understands the deception at last, and knows that it is Cyrano whom she loved.
Rostand has carefully prepared the audience for the significance of the letter. The scene is poignant, thoroughly romantic, and thoroughly in character for Cyrano. He could not have told her earlier that the husband she mourned was not the author of the letters or of the romantic speeches. He has lived his life as he wished, content with seeing her once each Saturday, and free to write what he wanted. Roxane cannot be told the truth; she must divine it. Through all the years she has been faithful to Christian (really to Cyrano), and this must have pleased Cyrano.