1. Cyrano de Bergerac takes place in Paris, France in 1640. Research life in the 17th century. This and other websites provide information:
2. What was the Thirty Years War? Who were Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu? These and other websites provide information:
3. Who was the historical Cyrano de Bergerac? What elements of his life inspired the play? This and other websites provide information:
4. Who were the Three Musketeers? Who was D’Artagnan? What is a Gascon? ALSO, In the 17th century, war was a defining characteristic of society and people lived with the constant threat of death. What were the ways war affected the lives of men and women? How did it shape both their social roles and responsibilities, and their views on life and love? These and other websites provide information:
5. Why was theatre important to the Paris society of the 17th century? Who were the prominent playwrights? What were the favorite subjects of drama? How did being seen at the theatre affect one’s social status?
6. Who was Edmond Rostand? What was his contribution to French drama? These and other websites provide information:
7. Compare and contrast the theatrical conventions and principles of Cyrano’s time (the 17th century) with those of Rostand’s time (the 19th century.) Why do you think Rostand might have been inspired to pay homage to the earlier theatre? This and other websites provide information:
9. Research the précieuses. What influence did the précieuses have on the arts at the time of Cyrano (and Molière)? What conditions bound their behavior and freedom? ALSO: In 17th-century life, social roles were well defined. Look at examples of art and fashion from the 17th century. What can you learn about 17th century French society by examining the art and fashion from the period? What can you learn about the social roles of men? Women? Describe the artistic style of the time. This and other websites provide information:
10. What is a duel? What is the “code duello?” Who benefited when men lived by that set of rules? Why was dueling allowed to be part of 17th century French society?