In Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, the main theme that inner qualities are more important than physical beauty affect each of the three main characters: Cyrano, Christian, Roxanne. Cyrano believes in this idea very much, Christian does not follow this theory very much and Roxanne is kind of a mix, meaning that she believes in both ideals to a certain extent.
Cyrano shows this theme often throughout the story. He is a strong believer in the idea that inner qualities are far more important than physical beauty. Rostand portrays Cyrano as a strong believer in this idea throughout the story to contrast Christian, who is the opposite in terms of his ideals. An example of how Cyrano is very passionate in the main theme of the story is when Valvert pokes fun at his nose. Valvert says “Your nose is...rather large!”(Rostand 35). In response to this, Cyrano goes on a rant about insulting his nose and how it needs to be done correctly. Cyrano makes fun of his own nose so that people will be more reluctant to make fun of it. This shows that he doesn’t want people to make fun of his nose which has to do with outer beauty which he clearly doesn’t consider important. Another example of how Cyrano shows the theme throughout the story is when he reacts to Roxanne talking about Christian and the aspects that she likes about him, specifically his physical appearance. Roxanne starts by saying “And such a man!--He is proud--noble--young--brave--beautiful--”(Rostand 74). In response to this, Cyrano becomes pale and says “Beautiful!--”(Rostand 74). This obviously shows that it bothers him that Roxanne considers beauty a factor in loving someone rather than inner qualities.
Christian contrasts the theme of inner beauty being more important than outer beauty throughout the story. For example, when Roxanne tells him that even if he were ugly, she would still love him and he gets disappointed. When Roxanne is describing the scenarios in which she would still love him she says “ Less charming, ugly even, I should love you still”(Rostand 188). Christian confirms that even if he was ugly she would still love him to which she confirms and he replies with an “Agonized” “Oh...God!...”(Rostand 188). This shows that since she didn't care as much about his looks he doesn't feel as happy with her anymore. Roxanne loves Christian for the reasons that he believes are wrong which are his inner qualities rather than his physical appearance which he believes is more important. Another example of how Christian shows his attitude towards the theme of the story is when we see how Christian really isnt a good person and all he really has going for him are his looks. Cyrano is seen as an intimidating figure with all of the guards and Christian approaches him and finishes Cyrano’s sentences using the words nose such as “ On my blade. Before i knew it, There I was-- Rubbing noses--.”(Rostand 95). He goes on with the insults and Cyrano is holding back because he knows that Roxanne loves him. This scene shows Christian being exceptionally rude which tells us that he doesn’t consider his inner qualities to be important because his outer beauty is so perfect.
Roxanne is a mix of the two sides of the theme. This means that she is inconsistent to both sides and she believes that outer beauty is the same as inner beauty but she sways throughout the story. For example, when she is talking to Cyrano about Christian she says ““And such a man!--He is proud--noble--young--brave--beautiful--”(Rostand 74). Most of these qualities can be considered outer beauty which shows how she admires the “Christian side” of the theme which is that physical beauty is more important than inner qualities. However, she is inconsistent and she then sways towards the other side of the theme that inner beauty is more important than physical appearance near the end of the story. She does this when she figures out that Cyrano was writing all of those things to her and Christian wasn't. After she figures all of the things about the letters she shouts to Cyrano “You shall not die! I love you!”(Rostand 224). This shows that she doesn't mind Cyrano’s looks but his inner qualities make up for it. This is contradicting her actions earlier because now all of a sudden she doesn't care that Cyrano is ugly and yet she cared completely when she met Christian.
The theme of Cyrano de Bergerac was that inner qualities are more important than outer beauty. Cyrano, Christian, and Roxanne all have varying degrees of attitudes and agreements towards this central theme. Cyrano believed in it the entire story which shows that he was the main follower of the theme. Christian denied the theme entirely which shows that he was opposition to the theme. Roxanne swayed from not believing it in the beginning of the story to believing it in the end of the story. Each character developed the theme throughout the story in their own way and from different viewpoints which helps the reader understand the theme.