Sexuality in M.Butterfly

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Laura Aliste Domínguez
Group A-2
Hwang tells us how Rene Gallimard, a married man who works at the French embassy in China, falls in love with a Chinese opera diva, Song, who really is a man in disguise to get information on the French government. Over the years, Gallimard returned to France and divorces his wife, Song goes to France to get more information and after 15-year relationship he admits that he is a man. Gallimard is jailed for espionage and in the cell, he committed suicide.

In the play, Hwang plays with the topic of Asian women as “the perfect woman” (77), submissive, docile, feminine, friendly and accommodating with her man. Hwang demolishes all these patterns because Song dishonored Gallimard, Song decided to live twenty years as a woman and he becomes the person who spied on the French government and the guilty that he is in jail. Gallimard represents the Western world, trying to submit to the Asian world; “So much fot protecting her in my big Western arms” (18). Hwang shows that in reality, Gallimard is who has been subjected and deceived, this is a loss of honor that it is very difficult to overcome. At the end of the play, we see indications that Gallimard sensed that Song was a man; “I know what you are” (87) but if he recognized that fact, his honor would be at stake. Another important point in the play, is the issue of sexual identity. Song tells Gallimard that what gender you have does not matter, what really matters is that he loves him; “I´m your butterfly. Under the robes, beneath everything, it was always me.” (89), Hwang attempts to end sex laws set by society, Gallimard still loves Song after his confession; but his honor will not let him to look beyond gender; “Death with honor/ Is better than life/ Life with dishonor” (15, 92). Gallimard's suicide, dressed as an Asian woman, shows that the issue of gender is an innate biological phenomenon is a social construct, no matter whether you are...
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