While reading Cyrano de Bergerac, I found myself often wondering whether or not Cyrano had led a happy life. Actually, I never once wondered that, but that is irrelevant, because Cyrano’s happiness is the focus of this essay. Was he happy? Truth be told, I cannot say for sure. If we look upon his life, it would seem that he was a bit of a martyr, always sacrificing his happiness for the sake of others. This is probably the case, but I do not believe that he led his life with his happiness as any sort of goal. That will be a defining case in my argument. What I really believe is that he simply did not care about his happiness. In that sense, he did not so much sacrifice it, as he annexed and divided it when he saw fit. To a further extent, this apathy towards himself probably came from a low self-worth, almost certainly spawned not from his elephantine nose, but the fair maiden Roxanne. Finally, the nose itself, the very icon of de Bergerac, was probably not the problem that Cyrano believed it to be. All of this, however obscure it may seem, is crucial to the question posed of me now.
Cyrano’s happiness was not viewed by him with either a favor or a goal. I cannot believe that Cyrano cared about his own happiness whatsoever. Really, that apathy would probably be the only way that he could emotionally accept his dangerously selfless undertakings. Case in point, his giving of Roxanne to the incredibly undeserving Christian. No real happiness in that action. Roxanne and Christian’s, maybe, but certainly not his own, and he loved Roxanne. Had Cyrano actually wanted to be happy, the pangs of grief that he would feel as he gave her away would certainly have ripped him apart. But if Cyrano convinced himself that he did not care about his own happiness, then it would at least take the edge off of those bitter emotions that surely plagued his soul whenever he saw his love’s face. This triggered diffidence, with all the sacrifice that Cyrano made, may have been the only defense mechanism that he had.
Continuing on from Cyrano’s carelessness for his happiness, we may easily make a jump to his sense of self-worth. Any man who would sacrifice his own love, thus, his entire world, for the sake of his rival cannot have a concern for himself. Cyrano cared for his own fate much like he cared for his enjoyment. That is to say, not at all. He did not feel that he deserved such things as the love of a beautiful woman, or the approval of his peers. Those things were not for him, so he believed. But, with his ideas of reward, I really must wonder. Suppose the one he loved was not so fair, not so charming, and not so damned selective about her partner’s appearance? Could not Roxanne herself be at some fault for Cyrano’s incredibly low sense of self worth? Cyrano believed that Roxanne would find him repulsive, what with his nose, should he try to court her. He was right, you know. Do you really think that Roxanne would have accepted Cyrano’s poetry as valid, much less been able to read it without being influenced by his appearance? That’s doubtful, considering he had to filter his verse through dull-witted Christian before Roxanne would accept such things. Had the object of his affection been a tick less picky about appearance, Cyrano might have not felt so badly about his own appearance. As it is, he was never given that chance.
The nose. No matter what chain of reasoning you follow from Cyrano, it always leads back to his nose. That prominent barricade of flesh and cartilage, always in his path. Was it really? Cyrano’s nose truly did prevent him from attaining a relationship with Roxanne, but, from this, he applied rejection to most everything else. The nose, quite possibly, was only a real barrier because Cyrano made it so. The only ones who thought less of Cyrano for his nose were arrogant fools, much like Roxanne, whom were quickly and efficiently dispatched. But, Cyrano still let his shrunken ego take a beating. It quickly became tender, and he reacted greatly to any attempted poke at his nose. Still, it comes back to fault on Roxanne’s step that Cyrano felt so horribly about his nose. Had she accepted such a thing, Cyrano may never have felt the way he did about his nose.
So through the apathy towards himself, his low self-worth spawned off of Roxanne, and the debatable barrier of the nose, the question of Cyrano’s happiness is still unanswered. I cannot say that he was happy, but nor can I say he was unhappy, either. Happiness was not his goal. He only lived his life through. Cyrano was waiting for his happiness, or, more specifically, he was waiting for Roxanne. He was not happy without her, yet, he did not seem unhappy during the interim. Was Cyrano happy or not? Look at the last line and make your own judgements, because I cannot say in yes or no.