The Romancers – Summary | Major English Grade XII

Edmond Rostand

The Romancers – Summary | Major English Grade XII

The Romancers

In his play “The Romancers” Edmond Rostand satirizes the sentimentalism and escapism of Romantic literature of his times. Percinet is the only son of Bergamin and Sylvette is the only daughter of Pasquinot. Their fathers who are widowers and neighbors make a plan to marry their children with each other.

In order to accomplish this, the fathers separate their children so that they may love each other the more, and desire to be reunited. As a part of their plan, Bergamin warns his son to stay away from Pasquinot and his daughter. Similarly, Pasquinot also warns his daughter that she should not be near to his mortal enemy Bergamin and his son. In spite of their fathers’ warnings, Percinet and Sylvette fall in love. They think themselves as the counterparts of Romeo and Juliet. They are worried that their love will also end in tragedy like that of Romeo and Juliet. They are emotional, daydreaming teenagers who have recently finished their school studies. They are deeply influenced by romantic literature of their times- especially by the romantic play “Romeo and Juliet” of William Shakespeare. They are so in love with each other that they desire to die rather than separate with each other. Bergamin then hires Straforel and his company for a fake kidnapping. At midnight hours, when Percinet and Sylvette are about to meet, Straforel with his company kidnap Sylvette and put her into the sedan chair. Percinet hears the cry of Sylvette, jumps over the wall and fights with his sword. At the same time, as planned, Pasquinot enters and calls Percinet a hero. He suggests Bergamin put an end to their enmity and arrange the marriage of their children. Thus, in the end, the two children seem like puppets in the hands of their fathers.

Important Questions:

1. Comment on the role of Straforel and his men.
Ans. Straforel is a performer who is hired by Bergamin to do a fake and grand kidnapping. He is not a villain but a comedian who is an expert in his profession and make-believe acting. He makes a combination of the different elements so that the kidnapping will be memorable. He brings his swordsmen, musicians, and torch-bearers during the kidnapping and places them in their positions. In the end, his expert acting during kidnapping unites the lovers.

2. How does Percinet justify his presence in the garden?
Ans. Percinet justifies to his father that he is present in the garden to enjoy the natural beauty of the garden, especially the flowers, creepers and the mosses that have decorated the wall. He tells him that the wall with its cracks and vines has made the bench next to it as a royal throne.

3. What is Parquinot’s reaction to finding his daughter strolling about?
Ans. When Pasquinot finds his daughter strolling alone in the garden, he scolds her. He reminds her that she should remain away from his mortal enemy Bergamin and his son. He is afraid that they may attack and insult her when they find her alone. So he wants to put a row of spikes on the top of the wall to harm the attacker.

Questions For Practice:

  • Narrate the events that cause anxiety to the lovers.
  • Describe the character traits of young romancers as seen in Sylvette and Percinet.

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