Full Name Professor Subject Date M. Butterfly Introduction M. Butterfly or Madame Butterfly is a very fascinating play written by David Henry Hwang which is based on a true story. The story is all about a French envoy named Rene Gallimard, falling in love with the Oriental, deceptive opera singer named Song Liling. The Beijing actress/singer (Song Liling) pretended to be a woman and had a 20 years long affair with Rene to carry out his/her plan of luring and seducing Gallimard for the execution of his/her probing and espionage attempts to the French diplomat (Hwang, 1988).
However married to a wife, Gallimard fell in love and took Song Liling as his mistress only to find out in the end that Song is a real Chinese man who acted as a woman to lure and spy on Gallimard which later on led Gallimard to imprisonment and to commit suicide (Hwang, 1989). Characters of M. Butterfly The title of the play and the characters in M. Butterfly serve as the metaphor to the underlying message that Hwang wants to impart its readers/audience: the notion of East and West, men and women, and other categorization of ingroups and outgroups imprinted in the beliefs of diverse individuals (Rich, 1988).
The prevalence of the stereotype of Oriental women reflected through Hwang’s representation of Gallimard’s desire for the “butterfly. ” In this novel, orientalism perspective of women was depicted as Song portrays the character of a submissive, exotic, and mysterious woman in the east whom Gallimard considers a “butterfly” and is determined to chase and take her love. Thus, at the end of the story, Gallimard was created by the author to create the character of an unsure man who appears a delusional fool and lives by his fantasies of grandeur and superiority to distort one’s reality of seeing himself as miniscule and powerless (Hwang 1988).
The Character of Rene Gallimard in M. Butterfly Rene Gallimard is a metaphor and a subtle representation of a typical colonizer. In M. Butterfly, Gallimard plays the role of a man practicing machismo. In order to think of himself as a “real man” and gain an ego-boosting self-esteem, he resorts to cheating his wife and chase after the Oriental woman, Song Liling who is beautiful, hard to reach, and talented perhaps. Rene Gallimard’s character was perhaps the typical description of a man turning weak when exposed in the presence of a new and mysterious woman as also explained in the previous example.
He is the type of man who perceives Oriental women as object of pleasure and therefore, his thinking further leads him to keep the desired woman (who is a man in reality) as his submissive mistress and as if she was his property. In relation to the concept of colonization, this one-sided vision of the world in general which the West is stronger and better than the East, and similarly, the shallow perception towards women that men are the leading gender, leads Gallimard to his downfall.
When he thought he was the counterpart of Pinkerton in the famous play Madame Butterfly, and Song Liling was the butterfly in the story, it only turns out in the end of the story that the real butterfly is Gallimard and Song Liling is the “man. ” In addition the underlying message of the story is that men do not have the right to look down and underestimate women just to make them feel stronger and masculine. In other words, Song Liling is the winner and Gallimard is the “humbug loser (Hwang, 1988). ” M. Butterfly Story Applied in Present Relationships and Perceptions of Men towards Women
With regards to present boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, the story of M. Butterfly could be applied as one concrete example of the proliferating scenarios of Western men dating and marrying Eastern, oriental women. When asked what does white, or western men like about oriental and yellow-skinned women, they respond that what men liked most with the Orientals are their quality of being strikingly exotic, interestingly unusual, and subservient. This somehow explains the western male’s fetish for the eastern females (Rich, 1988).
Another good example of relating the M. Butterfly story in real life relationships is the concept of “love” as often described like a “game. ” In every game, there is a winner and a loser. And most of the time, men think they are the winners (they mostly gain from the relationship in the longest time) and women, are the losers (for after giving all they’ve got they can be cheated, left, and hurt by men). But reading M. Butterfly should change this vainglorious, self-centered, egotistic nature of individuals (not only men).
For it was evident from Gallimard’s experience that not by all chance, a player is the winner in the game. When dice are rolled, chances are, the winner could also lose and be deceived by the underestimated opponent. Further, this also shows that colonization does not guarantee lifetime satisfaction from oppressors, there is a chance of drawback and victory from the oppressed, colonized, and discriminated country. The world is round and the oppressed could be the colonizers and the real winners in the end as they find justice from freedom.
Gallimar’s Loss of Self-esteem In some parts of the play, Gallimar’s character could be shown some loss of self-esteem. One time he said, “Tonight I’ve finally learned to tell fantasy from reality (Hwang, 1988, p. 90). ” From his statement, it shows the loss of self-esteem that Gallimard felt from the deception that his loved one has inflicted upon him. Ever since, he was the guy who believes that he is not popular among cliques and peers nor does he consider himself liked by the citizens in his society.
But when Song Liling came to his life, his perspective of himself was changed due to her innate beauty and promising attitude that Gallimard believes that could complete him. Song Liling during their 20 years of affair with Gallimard was submissive and dependent on his love yet conservative, which makes Gallimard feel pompous and stronger than ever (due to his feeling of being needed which is supplied and completed through the role playing/acting of Song Liling) (Hwang, 1988).
Moreover, another example of Gallimard’s action which reflects his loss of self- esteem is his execution of seppuku or self-suicide. Due to severe humiliation, hopelessness, and loss of pride and esteem with oneself, Gallimard resorts to overcome the embarrassment by killing himself. Relatively, the connotation of the butterfly and the diplomat in colonization represents the significance of knowing the outcome of oppression for both the colonizer (Gallimard) and the butterfly (colonized country).
The colonizer at first may feel the satisfying pleasure out of one’s superiority complex and vanity through colonizing a country, however, the witty and clever colonized country thinks of ways on how to find the weakness of the oppressor and later on tricks the colonizer to his downfall and gain back one’s freedom. However this colonized country regains one’s freedom from colonizer, it results to the identity confusion of the colonized country and unsure self (Hwang 1988). Conclusion The play of M.
Butterfly is a fascinating story of a Western French envoy man named Gallimard, falling in love and having a 20-year old affair with an Eastern (Oriental) woman named Song Liling. The Chinese singer/actress Song Liling seduces Gallimard and deceives him by keeping her true identity as a man to get information and spy on the diplomat. Later on, Song Liling unravels his secret to Gallimard but the latter was so stupefied only to think of himself as a fool. Truly, Gallimard is considered in this story as a delusional fool for he lives in pretension and he did not know nor did he has confidence for his mere existence.
The only thing that changed Gallimard’s attitude is the moment he got acquainted to his “butterfly” Song Liling. Gallimard’s issues reflected through his pleasure upon being needed by a submissive woman like Song (Hwang, 1988, p. 6). Works Cited Hwang, David H. M Butterfly. New York: Dramatists Play Service Inc. , 1988. Hwang, David H. M Butterfly. New York: Penguin, 1989. Rich, Frank. “Review/Theater; ‘M. Butterfly,’ a Story of a Strange Love, Conflict and Betrayal. ” The New York Times 21 March 1988.Sample Essay of Eduzaurus.com