M. Butterfly Characters

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Rene Gallimard

Rene Gallimard is 65 years old and confined to a French prison when the play opens. The year is approximately 1988. Much of the action takes place in flashback, as seen through Gallimard’s memories. These flashbacks take place during the decade from 1960 to 1970 in Beijing, China, and from 1966 to the present (late 1980s) in Paris, France. Gallimard describes himself as a celebrity, although he admits this fame comes as the result of being a societal joke. Gallimard gained international fame during a trial for espionage in which his lover, Song Liling, reveals she is actually a man and that Gallimard has remained ignorant of this knowledge for the past twenty years of their sexual affair.

Gallimard identifies himself with the character of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton from the opera “Madame Butterfly”. Pinkerton, a weakling and a cad, seduces the beautiful “Madame Butterfly” and then abandons her. Likewise, Gallimard falls...

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This section contains 1,097 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the M. Butterfly Study Guide
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