Cyrano de Bergerac

The Inevitable Flaw 10th Grade

The tragedy is perhaps one of the oldest and most captivating forms of literature. While each is unique, nearly all tragedies exhibit certain traditional similarities in content and structure. One of the most defining of these similarities is the presence of a “tragic hero,” always accompanied by some form of “tragic flaw,” which ultimately leads to their downfall. In Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, the eponymous protagonist in many ways identifies with the traditional tragic hero, particularly with regards to the presence of his own tragic flaw. Cyrano’s insecurity about his physical appearance – his nose in particular – forms the tragic flaw that increasingly propels him toward his own kind of downfall.

From Cyrano’s first appearance in Act I, his insecurity concerning his nose quickly becomes evident. Cyrano instantly carries himself with great bravado, and then goes on to begin a bit of a public disturbance, starting various arguments with those who attempt to contest him. In the midst of one such argument, Cyrano somewhat gratuitously accuses his opponent of “…staring at [his] nose” (18). Cyrano raises this accusation seemingly only for the purpose of then having reason to defend it, which he does by claiming:


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