M. Butterfly Response

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Date Submitted: 11/29/2012 01:41 AM

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M. Butterfly Response

M. Butterfly takes place in a prison cell in Paris at some point in the “present”, with many recalls and flashbacks throughout. It begins with Monsieur Rene Gallimard, a 65 year old man and the main character of the play. Throughout the play, he often addresses the reader and refers to his flashbacks, which appear on a different part of the stage.

Gallimard addresses the reader at first in, describing his cell and his fame for some monumental event in his past after an apparent hallucination of Song Liling, a woman dancing to a love duet in the opera Madame Butterfly. Scene 2 is a conversation between generic, unidentified people at a bar somewhere discussing Gallimard himself and his fame, which vaguely alludes to some large event in his past. Gallimard somehow views this scene from his cell and relates it in Scene 3 again to something in his past, which he says can only be understood if one is introduced to the opera Madame Butterfly. He reenacts a scene from the opera with a seemingly hallucinated childhood friend, Marc. Gallimard plays the part of the very masculine figure Pinkerton, who contrasts the sensitive and reasoning character Sharpless. Gallimard hints that whatever happened to him in his past was analogous to this opera, except that he was the sensitive one. Scene 4 is a quick flashback to Gallimard’s childhood, which suggests he had an insecurity with girls and himself, and he tells the audience that he was convicted for treason in “his version” of Madame Butterfly. Scenes 5 and 6 encompass Gallimard describing the plot of Madame Butterfly, which seems to be very analogous to his life. Mixed with these descriptions, we learn further information about Gallimard’s insecurity as a boy and also that he married a woman named Helga. Liling Song is introduced to Gallimard at an opera house in Beijing in 1960 playing the Madame Butterfly herself, who in the opera is a woman who kills herself after she falls in love white man from...