Lessons from Cyrano deBergerac

“Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Although there was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, the play is a fictionalization of his life that follows the broad outlines of it.

“The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess.”

“Cyrano de Bergerac is a 1990 French comedy drama film directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau and based on the 1897 play of the same name by Edmond Rostand, adapted by Jean-Claude Carrière and Rappeneau. It stars Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet and Vincent Pérez. The film was a co-production between companies in France and Hungary.

“It was ranked #43 in Empire magazine's ‘The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema’ in 2010.”

(From the Wikipedia)

My wife and I saw the play last week at the Shakespeare Theatre in Staunton Virginia. The movie had totally captivated me two times already, but the play, especially the final scene, did not disappoint.

Some obvious lessons from Cyrano de Bergerac:

Older men can fall in love with younger women.

Younger women usually fall in love with young men, but surprisingly, they sometimes look favorably on an older man, especially one with unusual ability, virtue, or kindness.

Men fall for feminine beauty.

Foolishly – though not in the case of Cyrano and the young Christian – they forget that “charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,” and that a lovely face does not always go with a beautiful mind.

Women respond to tender words of affection.

Most men are incapable of speaking such words, except perhaps when they are pursuing a woman. They lose even this limited ability soon after the wedding.

Foolishly, women tend to believe what men say to them in the heat of passion.

True love sacrifices for the sake of others. This hurts. A lot. But it is very noble.

Sometimes, love should cherished in silence. I tell young men not to say, “I love you” until they are actually proposing, on bended knee and with ring in hand. Otherwise, the poor girl will give her heart to him, then perhaps herself, and the whole thing gets incredibly messy. Heartbreak often follows, especially for her.

Parents, especially mothers, should express affection for their children, even if they are unlovable. Unspoken love, or open rejection, can wreak lifelong damage. Witness poor Cyrano with his ugly nose.

We are all desperate for some words of affirmation.

There are times when we should speak, if it will benefit another. Don’t let your self-doubt and fear hold you back. Yes, you might be rejected, but you will have done what is right and, - who knows? – you might be surprised by the response.

We men could all learn a lot from Cyrano the poet, the friend, the leader, the thinker, the warrior.

Finally – guys, when all else fails, pull out some panache.