M. Butterfly opens in contemporary Paris. Rene Gallimard is in a little prison cell. He describes his humdrum day-to-day modus operandi, and so confides that he is no ordinary captive, but a famous person. Peoples talk about him at parties from Amsterdam to New York. Scene 2 shows three people at a party jesting about Gallimard, and the gag evidently has something to make with sex. Scene 3 returns to Gallimard ‘s cell, and he confides that he has been loved by the “ Perfect Woman. ” He so says that to understand his narrative, the audience must cognize the opera Madame Butterfly, by Giacomo Puccini. He describes the opera and plays some of the music from it on his tape recording equipment. His old school friend Marc appears as one of the characters, and Gallimard assumes the function of Pinkerton, the American crewman who wins the bosom of Butterfly, the Nipponese miss, and so betrays her.
Scene 4 flashes back to 1947, at a school in Aix-en-Provence, France. Marc tries to carry Gallimard to attach to him to a party, assuring that there will be enough of misss available, but Gallimard refuses to travel. He lacks assurance with misss. Scene 5 returns to Gallimard ‘s cell, and Gallimard farther explains the secret plan of Madame Butterfly, noticing that in existent life, it is non easy to happen a adult female who will give herself so wholly to a adult male. The closest to it are the misss who pose in adult magazines. As Gallimard pulls some of these magazines out of a crate in his cell, a pin-up miss appears, and invitingly disrobes. Gallimard resumes his expounding of the opera, as Comrade Chin plays the portion of Suzuki, Butterfly ‘s amah. Gallimard reveals that he married a adult female, Helga, for calling grounds instead than love. Then he reveals that when he was a diplomat in Beijing, he foremost saw “ her ” singing the decease scene from Madame Butterfly. He does non explicate who the adult female was.
Scene 6 takes topographic point in Beijing in 1960, in the house of the German Ambassador. Gallimard has merely watched Song Liling sing an aria from Madame Butterfly. He tells her he was moved by the narrative. Song, nevertheless, expresses small enthusiasm for it. She does, nevertheless, invite Gallimard to go to the Peking Opera. After scene 7, in which Gallimard and Helga discuss Chinese haughtiness, scene 8 shows a meeting between Song and Gallimard in the streets of Beijing after Gallimard has attended the Peking Opera. Song invites him to her level. In the following scene, Gallimard lies to his married woman about holding met Song, and Gallimard relates a dream in which Marc urges him to get down an matter with Song. In scene 10, Gallimard relates what happened on his first visit to Song ‘s level. They drink tea, and Song confesses she is afraid of dirt because she is entertaining a adult male in her flat, which is against Chinese usage. Gallimard believes she is afraid of him.
In scene 11, Gallimard describes a scheme he devised to prove Song. He makes no contact with her for five hebdomads. Marc reappears and together they recall Gallimard ‘s first sexual experience. Then Gallimard tells the audience that after six hebdomads, Song began to compose to him, pleading with him to see her. He ignores this and subsequent letters, until he feels ashamed of doing her suffer. In scene 12, Gallimard learns from Toulon, the Gallic Ambassador, that he is to be promoted and will be in charge of the intelligence division. In scene 13, eight hebdomads after he last proverb Song, he returns to her flat and asks if she will give up to him, merely as Madame Butterfly surrendered to Pinkerton in Puccini ‘s opera. Song is loath at first, but so they kiss and prepare to do love, although Song protests that she is inexperienced.
Act 2, Scenes 1-4
Act two Begins in the present, in Gallimard ‘s cell. Gallimard remarks about Puccini ‘s opera. Scene 2 returns to Beijing in 1960, where Gallimard and Song now live in a level together. Song complains about how, in Chinese society, adult females are kept down by work forces, and expresses esteem for the West. The undermentioned scene takes topographic point a twelvemonth subsequently at the Gallic Embassy. Toulon and Gallimard discuss Vietnam. Gallimard says that if the Americans show the will to win, the Vietnamese will subject. In scene 4, Comrade Chin asks Song to happen out when the Americans program to get down bombing Vietnam. Song passes on information she has gleaned from an unsuspicious Gallimard. Chin asks why Song is have oning a frock, and Song says it is because she is in camouflage.
In scene 5, Gallimard relates the everyday the twosome settled into from 1961 to 1963. Song says she longs to bear Gallimard ‘s kid. In scene 6, Gallimard has an matter with Renee, a Western pupil he met at a party. Toulon tells Gallimard that the Americans are be aftering to assassinate the South Vietnamese leader, which is what Gallimard, in his diplomatic capacity, has been reding. But Toulon says that if anything goes incorrect, no 1 will listen to Gallimard ‘s advice once more. Humiliated, Gallimard visits Song for the first clip in three hebdomads. At first, he wants to rule her, but these feelings disappear and he feels echt love. Song tells him she is pregnant ( she is lying ) , and he says he wants to get married her. In the following scene, Song tells Chin that she needs a babe – a Chinese babe with blond hair – so she can convert Gallimard the kid is his. In scene 8, Gallimard promises to disassociate his married woman and marry Song. Song says she is non worthy and diminutions. Gallimard informs the audience that Song went off to the countryside for three months, and so returned with a kid.
Scene 9 leaps frontward three old ages, to 1966. Gallimard explains that the radical state of affairs in China made contact between Chinese and aliens impossible. The level the twosome shared was confiscated. Gallimard is sent back to France by Toulon because of the failure of his anticipations about the relationship between China and the West. During the cultural turbulence, Song is made to squeal that she had been corrupted by a alien. She is sent to work in the Fieldss to be “ rehabilitated. ” In scene 10, set in 1970, Chin informs Song that she ( although it is now clear that Song is truly a adult male ) is to be sent to France to descry, utilizing Gallimard as her beginning of information. Scene 11 is set in Paris from 1968 to 1970. There are student presentations in the streets. Gallimard confesses to his married woman about Song, and asks for a divorce. After Gallimard has a brief treatment with Marc, Song appears, and she and Gallimard are reunited. Some clip elapses, and Song intimations to the audience that she is about to undergo a transmutation and that Gallimard must confront the truth.
Act 3 is set in a courthouse in Paris in 1986. Song now appears as a adult male, dressed in a suit. He explains that Gallimard has supported him and his “ boy ” in Paris for 15 old ages. He besides says that Gallimard gave him transcripts of sensitive paperss. The justice asks Song if Gallimard knew he was a adult male. Song answers, in a traffic circle manner, that work forces believe what they want to believe. In scene 2, Song tries to convert Gallimard that he, Gallimard, still loves him, even though Gallimard now knows Song is a adult male. Gallimard asks Song why he treated him so cruelly. Song begins easy to take his apparels. Wearing Butterfly ‘s robes, he tells Gallimard that he is still the same Butterfly that Gallimard loved. But Gallimard, now free of 20 old ages of semblance, tells Song to go forth. Scene 3 returns to Gallimard ‘s cell, in the present. To the audience, he reasserts the vision of love that he had, of the perfect Oriental adult female. But he realizes that it was he, non his beloved, who sacrificed everything and was be trayed. He puts on makeup, a wig, and a kimono, and rechristens himself Madame Butterfly. Then he plunges a knife into his organic structure, perpetrating suicide merely as Butterfly does in the opera.