Friday, November 20, 2009

Question of the Week (11/20/09)

How does the play's comedic style change in Act III? Answer using evidence from the text. Post and respond by Sunday.


Katie Callahan said...

I think that the comedic styles of ActIII is more obvious than that of Act1. Overall, I found ActIII to be more serious and intense than ActI (which was just setting the stage).

A good example of this is with the Pages. Cyrano won two pages off of a bet (102). Throughout the first few scenes of ActIII they offer some comic relief. First, Cyrano corrects the pages, "Those are thrity-second notes, you fool!" (102). Cyrano is anxious because he is going to see Roxane, but the pages brought amusement to lighten the mood.

Later, on page 117, the pages appear again, "Here we are!" Cyrano and Christian are going to talk to Roxane to fix Christian's blunders from earlier. The pages show up at a very inconvenient time, making noise when Cyrano is trying to stay hidden. The pages actions once again ease the tension and anxiety that the other characters are experiencing.

Emily Lohr said...

I do agree with Katie that Act III feels more serious, but there are some funny parts. There's a lot of repetition within the lines of this act, which to me seems like it would sound funny if you were watching this play live. On page 107 De Guiche and Roxane are talking about Christian. He mentions someone and she says, tall? He says, yes with blond hair and she says reddish blond and he says and handsome and she says not very and he says but stupid. This sort of exchange would probably be funny if one was watching the play. Another example of the comedic repetition i found in this act was the part where Christian is telling Roxane he loves her, but she wants him to deeply explain why. He obviously can't think of anything to say so she kind of just dismisses him, which could be funny. To sum things up, Act III has more serious situations with a funny flair.

Sonya said...

I agree with both Katie and Emily. Act III feels more serious than either of the previous acts, but there are funny parts. Cyrano has won a day of music from the pages, and on pages 105 and 120 (period 4's book) they add some comic relief. They lighten the more serious mood, and come in at very inconvenient times for Cyrano.
As Emily mentioned, there are a lot of parts in these scenes that may not be funny to read, but would probably be funny to see acted out. There are a lot of exchanges like this. For example, between Roxane and De Guiche when they are describing Christian (111) and between Roxane and Christian when he cannot think of anything better to say to her than, "I love you" and she gets annoyed (118). Basically, Act III is a more serious act, but with funny situations as well.

Michaela Helble said...

I definitely agree with what everyone else said about how there are funny parts in Act III. I especially agree with what Emily said, about how it would be really funny to watch some of the scenes acted out. They might not necessarily seem comical when the scenes are read, but if they were watched, they would be. I think the best example of that (as others have said) is when Christian can't think of anything to say to Roxanne except that he loves her (133-4).
However, I don't really think that the topics are more serious in Act III. For example, in Act II, Le Bret says to Cyrano "If you would only soften you haughty spirit a little.." (87) and Cyrano goes into this long speech about he "may not rise very high but [he'll] climb alone!" (88). I don't think that Christian repeating "I love you" to Roxanne, or Roxanne playing tricks on De Guiche is more serious than Cyrano's speech.
I think that overall, Act III is more comical than the other scenes (through, as others have mentioned, the Pages (117) and Roxanne's trick on De Guiche (108)), but not any more serious than the other acts

Katie Callahan said...

I also agree with Emily, that a lot of the scenes would probably be funnier if they were acted out by professional actors. I think that any scene with both De Guiche and Cyrano would be very amusing because of the relationship between the two.

lynda said...

I think act one and two are more comedic than act three. An example of this is that on pages one to five, its just a bunch of rowdy pages, etc. In act three, it becomes more serious because Cyrano is serious about Roxanne, and wants to get to her through christian, as seen by the pages 110-120.

I agree with Katie when she says that the earlier acts were more serious than the last. I agree with her when she says that act one was setting it up, and that act three is one of the main turning points of the play, where Cyrano's softer side is discovered

Alice.Rottersman said...

I agree with everyone else about act I and II setting it up and act III still being funny but more serious. I think another the difference in the humor is the jokes of act I and II are less situational than those of act III. For example Cyrano says to Montfleury, "Fat swine! If you dare breathe one balmy zephyr more, I'll fan your cheeks for you!" (24) (I think that's supposed to be funny...?) In act three we have Christian trying to speak for himself (117) and the pages playing the wrong notes (104) which have more to do with actions as opposed to calculated, insulting lines.

Sarah McAndrew said...

I have to agree with what the people above said. Act III is funny, but only in the sense that it lightens the mood in serious scenes such as Cyrano's confessions about Roxanne. It's a way for the play to still come off as comedic, but at the same time show off Cyrano's softer, more caring side and bring a more serious side to the play.

Hayley said...

Act III's comedy is more subtle and purposeful than the comedy in the previous two. In the first two acts, there were cheap laughs, slapstick, and other, simpler, humor. It's purpose seemed to be to get you hooked and attentive. As the play progresses, Cyrano and gang get more serious. You begin to understand the emotions and logic behind everyone's jests, and it's harder to see it as simple light-hearted humor. The dramatic irony increases also, creating a sense of tension.

mason vogt said...

I thin the main reason that the comedic style of the play changes from act one to act 3 is because, like many people have said, act 1 is meant to create a setting and plot for the play so that the audience is able to understand the characters, and get the general idea of what is going on.

THE CAVALIER: I enter free.
THE CAVALIER: Soldier of the Household of the King!
SECOND CAVALIER: I pay nothing.
THE PORTER: Why not?

This is an example of the first act showing what the personalities of certain characters are like. This caption displays the time period as well when the second cavalier mentions musketeers.

Jeff said...

As many a person has said, I think that the characters in act 3 have become more involved in the play. In the beginning (act's 1 and 2) the people are distinguishing themselves from other characters. When Cyranno is showing Valvert that his insults are not worthy for him. His soliloquy on page 30 is obvious humor. "Descriptive: 'Tis a rock-a crag- a cape. A Cape? Say--rather--a peninsula!". The names that Cyranno uses create a comic image that we can see and laugh at.

In act 3, I don't know if this is meant to be funny, but on page 122, Cyranno uses the word "hell" as exclamation, and De Guiche takes his word as a literal meaning, which is the place.

De Guiche: In the Milky Way!
Cyrano: Hell!
De Guiche: No, Heaven!

This is confusing and I don't know if it was meant to be funny or not. But I think that in the third act makes the reader look deeper into the humor in order to get it. I think that the more intellectual readers would enjoy this act more because they would be able to understand it more.

Ella Kaplan said...

I agree with what everyone has said so far in the way that I think that acts I and II have more humor with them and they are the setting acts to the play. In act III, the plot kicks in and the play becomes more serious but the characters still keep some humor. One of the example that shows that has humor in act three is on 118 where Christian tells Roxanne that he loves her because he can't really think of anything else to say.

Kelsey said...

I agree with everyone else, that Acts I and II were definitely lighter and funnier than Act III. Also as many people have said, in Act III, Cyrano has developed strong feelings for Roxane, but realizes that she is in love with Christian (or who she thinks is Christian), not Cyrano. For example, in Act I, on pages 38 and 39, the Meddler is annoying Cyrano, so Cyrano kind of flips the situation around, and embarrasses the meddler, saying he was being rude and looking at his nose. That shows that at this point, the play is still pretty upbeat and humerous.

By Act III, as people have said, we have a firm understanding of the different characters and roles, so the play takes a more serious theme of love and desperation. In scene 5, Christian decides that he can speak to Roxane himself, and that he doesn't need Cyrano's help anymore. However, he's very wrong because all he says the whole time is I love you, over and over. This scene is still kind of funny, but in a more serious way.

I agree with Emily and Michaela, that the play (especially Act III) would probably be funnier if we were able to see it acted out, because it is kind of hard to picture and imagine how the lines would sound if someone were really saying them, (sarcastic, bored, excited, etc.)

seydar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ari the Brown said...

This play was split into three acts deliberately to produce discrete steps in comedic gradation. The first two acts are considerably funnier than the third. The third act has a considerable change in atmosphere as tension rises and the comedy is no longer a prominent theme, but merely a motif to be used as comedic relief.

Kiana said...

As many have already said, Act III is more serious than the first two. The first two were meant to show us the different characters and their roles in the play. Act I and II set the stage for the rest of the play. Now in Act III, the plot is getting more serious and it isn't as comedic as the beginning.
I agree with Emily though. If Act III was being acted out it would probably be funny. On page 109, Roxane and De Guiche are going back and forth because De Guiche wants to stay and Roxane doesn't want him to. That scene would be funny to watch in a play.

Jennie said...

In Act III, we get to see more of cyrano's feelings. We see (actually, we began to see this in Act II) his deep love for Roxane, and his eagerness to express his love--even if it is through someone else, who has "the looks" for loving Roxane. Because of this tragic situation, Act III is a lot more serious than the previous Acts. When Cyrano is talking to Roxane, he wants to hear her praise his talk of love (which she heard through Christian) even if he is getting no due credit for it. Cyrano questions her in a way that makes it seem as if he is making fun of her. On page 103, he questions Roxane about "Christian's" letters:

Cyrano: Does he speak well about the matters of the heart?
Roxane: Not well--superbly!
Cyrano: And how does he write?
Roxane: Even better than he speaks!...

The comedic aspect of Act III is not as obvious as it has been in the first two Acts. I agree with Ari the Brown--humor is starting to be used more as comic relief. The play seems to be dealing with more serious situations.

Nicolas said...

Acts 1 and II have obvious, deliberate humour, whereas Act III has more subtle humour. By this I mean that in Acts I and II, there were various characters making actual jokes that are seen as funny by both the people on stage and the audience. We see this especially in Cyrano's speech about his nose on pages 36 and 37. This is a case of not just making us laugh, but also making the crowd on stage laugh.
In contrast, in Act III there aren't people on stage who form the on stage audience for the jokes-the humour is done in seriousness (as it were), because the actual characters not meant to be telling jokes. For instance, I found the scene where Christian tries to speak to Roxanne without Cyrano's help to be hilarious, even though Christian was trying his hardest. This continues throughout the scene and throughout the Act.
I disagree with...well, pretty much everyone who said that Act III is more serious. Act III has a more serious side, which masks a lot of the humour. But when the play is performed or read, its possible to see just how much humor there really is. I agree with Ari's comment that there is a definite comedic progression throughout the acts, but the humour has definitely not gone away, or even really lessened.

Erin Donohue said...

I agree with 'Ari the Brown' in how he categorized Acts I and II as being very different form Act III. He has summed up what most people have said: Rostand uses comedic graduation up through Act 3, where it is used more as a motif.

One part of Act III that I found to be funny was when Christian was struggling in telling Roxanne how much he loved her, "I love you!", "I love you so!", "I adore you!", to the point where she remarks, "I ask for cream You give me milk and water. Tell me first A little, how you love me." (Found on page 118). I think that this was one of two very significant humorous parts in this act, the second being when Cyrano talks to Roxanne himself (though she thinks it is Christian confessing his love).

For me, I feel as if other scenes were just used to 'move' the play along to get to the 'good' parts... I also think that Rostand has been wise to not entirely drown us with excessive humor; he's carefully constructed the play to shift moods that can be complimented either by humor or lack of humor.

Leah said...

First of all, I want to draw everyone's attention to the fact that "Ari the Brown" does not actually take World Classics. Bravo, Ari.

Secondly, I agree with Nicolas. He says what I think everyone else has attempted to say when they say Act III is "more serious." Act III is still extremely comedic, just in a way that is different from the light, showy humor of the first acts. The first Acts are the introduction to the play. Rostand must first hook the audience, introduce us to the characters and set up the plot and atmosphere. The comedy at first is more common - the guard trying to kiss the flower girl, the pages "fishing" for wigs, Cyrano's hilarious and creative insulting of Montfleury and Valvert. As the play goes on, the plot thickens, and new layers are added. The humor never lessens, the play just deepens.

Lauren Hoh said...

As most people have said, the comedic styles change from Act I and II to Act III because in the first two acts there are actual jokes and humor in the lines of the characters, but in Act III it is more of a sort of dry, more intense humor. I agree with Emily that the repetition of the lines would be funny if you were watching the play especially because you could see the expressions on the actor's faces, and how they say the lines.

A part that I think is funny is when Roxane is convincing De Guiche to leave behind Cyrano and his regiment because he thinks it is because she wants De guiche to get back at Cyrano, but really it is because she doesn't want Christian to get injured in the war. (pp.110-113)

The reason I feel that Act III is more "serious" than the other acts is because it is dealing with everyone's feelings, like Jennie mentioned, and we get to learn about Christian's deeper feelings for Roxane than just that he thinks she is beautiful. Also, when Roxane memorizes parts of Cyrano's poems, he is flattered.
Roxane: "Listen to to this-"
Cyrano: "You know them all by heart?"
Roxane: "Every one!"
Cyrano: "I may call that flattering..."
Then, Roxane is disappointed when Christian can't express his feelings for her in a deep manner. By the end of all this, everyone is unhappy with their love life.

Daniel G said...

I agree with the bulk of what everyone else has said so far. Act III lost much of the comedic style showcased in the previous acts, and turned much more serious, although still funny. Earlier, the humor didn't seem to be much more than anything just to entertain the audience and ease them into the play, as Leah said. This is seen clearly in the beginning of Act I Scene I, when everyone makes mischief while waiting for the play. This is funny, but not connected to any crucial part of the play. On page 114, when Christian confesses his love to Roxane, she takes a serious and necessary situation and adds humor to it by saying, "Develop your theme (114)!" This is the difference with Act III.

Sam said...

ActI is meant to introduce the story. For this play, the best way to introduce it was in a comedic way. However, as the plot progresses in ActIII it is important that the play becomes more serious and although it is still allowed to be funny, it's hard to fit as many jokes in. As Nick said, I can also agree that the main bulk of jokes are still there, however the overlying tone is of more serious matters. I think a good example of the still existing humor is what Christian says to Roxane. He appears to be at loss for words and simply belches that he loves her. This situation also shows the more serious matter of love that is at hand.

Nathaniel brown said...

Ari, do you have anything better to do?

Acts 1 and 2 rely on simple jokes and comical scenes. For example, the boys fishing for whigs and the chaotic scene in Ragueneau's bakery. In Act 3, however, the plot becomes more developed and so does the comedy. Act 3 does seem more serious, but it is funny as well. The relationship between Christian, Cyrano and De Guiche is very amusing. I agree with everyone that Rostand develops his style of comedy through the three scenes.

Robin Smith said...

I agree with what most people have said that there is definetly a change from a more straight forward comedic stance in acts one and two, where they are actually telling jokes, to a deeper, drier form of comedy. I think that the earlier acts were to get the audience into the play, to grab their attention, but now the author can develop the plot more and move to the more serious ideas of the play. I think some of the humor in act three is ironic, such as when Christian gets to kiss Roxanne even though it was the words of Cyrano that won him the kiss. In Acts one and two it was lighter humor such as when Cyrano is making fun of Montfleury for being fat.

Ari the Brown said...

I'd like to combat what fellow student Smith, Robin said in his post about the irony of Christian winning the kiss with the words of Cyrano: this is clearly demonstrative of Christian and Cyrano displaying competitive homosociality. Cyrano would clearly like to beat Christian in the game of love for Roxanne, but due to social constraints he cannot compete. Cyrano therefore helps Christian win, knowing that his words will win the battle and proving that he could have, if fact, beat Christian.

mallory patton said...

Act three is definitely more serious, like people have said above. The humor is used to "lighten the mood" so not to make the play too serious. When the pages enter the scenes the author puts them there so they can be the comic relief. The first time when Cyrano appears with the pages Ragueneau was talking about his wife and how she had left and he lost his store.

Bryce said...

I agree with a lot of people that act three is more serious than the acts before. I think it is more serious because its about Roxanne and how she loves another man. This makes the play more serious because Cyrano is not as funny as he used to be, he is jealous and it really brings him down that Roxanne loves another man (p.104).

christopher.harwick said...

I agree with the majority of people when I say I think act three has more obvious comedy. Although I don’t completely agree with people about the serious matter. Sure the ideas of act three are more serious. Getting christian and roxane “together”. But I think a lot of it is funnier than before and more open about it. For Example p114- 115 Roxane wants christian to be creative when he says he loves her, but he can’t live up to her expectations. This is because Cyrano wrote the original letter so she thinks christian is very creative but he really is not. Furthermore I also think the pages on 102 are very funny, and then he sends them to annoy montfluery.

Megan Pattison said...

I agree with everyone that act three has become more serious than those previous. I really agree with Jeff in that the characters are no longer defining themselves and so we see a more normal side to them, that isn't quite as comical. Although act three seems to be more serious, I think Emily is right that on stage, the "give and take" between the actors would muster a laugh from the audience.
On pages 108 and 109, I picture De Guiche as a very arrogant character who assumes he has the respect of all, but really he has the respect of no one. I think this would come across as funny because Roxane goes along with his antics, like she is just simply fawning over him and that she is just torn up about his departure.
I agree with people previous that the give and take between Christian and Roxane, when Chritsian is confessing his love so plainly, that that would be funny. Women at that time were supposed to be quiet and reserved, and I think it's surprising that Roxane is such a fiery and demanding character.

Brendon said...

Many people have said ideas which I agree with. The play does become more serious than the first two. During the first two acts, we are learning about all of the characters and their antics. Once the third starts, we begin the true play. This is when we see the Cyrano of the play.
In act 3 Cyrano is trying to get to his rendez vous with Roxanne when some Pages arrive. They bring some comedy into the scene but Cyrano is very serious, "Those are thrity-second notes, you fool!" (102). He has a stern response, correcting the Pages on their mistake.
That is why Act 3 is more serious than the first 2. Thank you

Lupi Linehan said...

Many people have said that plays comedic style changes. Cyrano becomes less serious and makes more jokes, especially when he is around Roxane. On page 104 he says, "First he has too much heart, then not enough...I'll do as you wish." In this quote Cyano is making jokes while Roxane is professing her love for Christian. In Act I Cyrano would not have been making jokes and been serious and talking her out of it, but he more of a comedian in Act III so the mood is lighter. As Brendon said in the first two Acts we are introduced to all the characters and in the third Act we begin to see the real role of Cyrano