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Love, Betrayal, Hubris, and Relationships in Cyrano de Bergerac

Love, Betrayal, Hubris, and Relationships in Cyrano de Bergerac

French authors and playwrights have been acclaimed worldwide for their dynamic prose, complex situations, and unpredictable endings. The same praises hold true for Edmond Eugene Alexis Rostand. Born of Provencal ancestry on April 1, 1868, Rostand was well-learned, as evidenced by his extensive childhood education as a student of the lycee of Marseille. His father was a prominent member of the Marseille Academy. As a direct result of this high influence, Rostand concluded his studies at the College Stanislas in Paris. He studied, under the direction of the then-renowned Professor Rene Doumic, the works of those creme de la creme authors held in high esteem — Victor Hugo, Alfred de Musset, and William Shakespeare. His interactions with both Spanish and French cultures helped augment his success as a dramatic poet. Furthermore, Rostand assisted Emile Zola in supporting Captain Dreyfus, who was unjustly convicted of treason (Kahr 186).

As a Meridional, Rostand was heavily inspired by Victor Hugo. In college, Rostand found “a literary world . . . where naturalism and exoticism flourished” (vii). This attitude was formed as a result of the catastrophic Franco-Prussian War of 1870. As a member of the 1880s generation, Rostand was also influenced to become the ideal Romanticist of his time. Rostand’s fourth play, Cyrano de Bergerac, afforded him the most fame. Rostand generally modeled his plays after traditional, romantic subjects and settings. A vast majority of the success of Rostand’s play can be accredited to an interesting plot, a rich and sophisticated vocabulary, and real-life dialogue (to those of his lifetime). Cyrano de Bergerac, the play, debuted …

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“Rostand, Edmond.” The New Book of Knowledge. 1994 ed.

“Rostand, Edmond.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 22nd ed. 1994.


I. Introduction

A. Background

B. Inspiration

II. Leading to Cyrano

A. Reasons

B. Rostand’s style

C. Debut

III. Precis of Cyrano

IV. Commenting on Cyrano

A. Length of Play

B. Mentality of Cyrano characters

C. Examples

V. Rhetoric devices

A. Tone

1. Commentary-example 1

2. Commentary-example 2

B. Diction

1. Commentary-example 1

2. Commentary-example 2

C. Point of view

1. Commentary-example 1

2. Commentary-example 2

VI. Overall Theme

A. Major Theme

B. Subsequent major themes

VII. Conclusion

A. Issues emphasized

B. Rhetoric devices

C. Overall conclusion of Rosatnd’s work

D. Clincher

Visions of Utopia in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

Visions of Utopia in Robinson Crusoe

“Daniel Defoe achieved literary immortality when, in April 1719, he published Robinson Crusoe” (Stockton 2321). It dared to challenge the political, social, and economic status quo of his time. By depicting the utopian environment in which was created in the absence of society, Defoe criticizes the political and economic aspect of England’s society, but is also able to show the narrator’s relationship with nature in a vivid account of the personal growth and development that took place while stranded in solitude. Crusoe becomes “the universal representative, the person, for whom every reader could substitute himself” (Coleridge 2318). “Thus, Defoe persuades us to see remote islands and the solitude of the human soul. By believing fixedly in the solidity of the plot and its earthiness, he has subdued every other element to his design and has roped a whole universe into harmony” (Woolf 2303).

A common theme often portrayed in literature is the individual vs. society. In the beginning of Robinson Crusoe , the narrator deals with, not society, but his family’s views on how he was bound to fail in life if his parents’ expectations of him taking the family business were not met. However, Defoe’s novel was somewhat autobiographical. “What Defoe wrote was intimately connected with the sort of life he led, with the friends and enemies he made, and with the interests of natural to a merchant and a Dissenter” (Sutherland 2). These similarities are seen throughout the novel. “My father…gave me serious and excellent counsel against what he foresaw was my design,” says Crusoe (Defoe 8-9) . Like Crusoe, Defoe also rebelled against his parents. Unlike Crusoe, however, Defoe printed many essays and papers that rebelled against the government and society, just as Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, did in England by depicting society languishing in social malaise (Marowski 231). It were these writings that eventually got Defoe charged with libel and imprisoned (DIScovering Authors). In Defoe’s life it was the ministry that his father wanted him to pursue (Sutherland 2), but, instead, Defoe chose to become a tradesman (DIScovering Biography). The depth of the relationship between Crusoe and his parents in the book was specifically not elaborated upon because his parent’s become symbolic not only of all parents, but of society. In keeping this ambiguous relationship, Defoe is able to make Crusoe’s abrupt exodus much more believable and, thus, more humane.

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