Madame Butterfly by David Henry Hwang

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Madame Butterfly by David Henry Hwang is a play based on a strange but true story of a French diplomat, Gallimard, who had a twenty-year affair with a Chinese actor and opera singer, Song, not realizing that his partner was in fact a man masked as a woman. Gallimard, the diplomat, apparently became aware of the deception at the end of the play when he was charged by the French government that his companion, had been an agent for the Chinese government, and had passed on sensitive information that Song had acquired from Gallimard. Song, with the skills he had as a Chinese opera actor, managed to stay behind the truth for 20 years.

Song, a well trained spy who disguised himself into a face and a voice of a charming woman, made Gallimard fall in loved with her thinking that she was the perfect woman for 20 years. "For I, Rene Gallimard, you see, I known and been loved by … the perfect woman."(20)

With his natural ability as a Chinese opera actor, he disguised himself with a kind of high female voice, a tender face by make up and dresses in woman form. "And every time I come here, you're wearing a dress, : It's a … disguise, Miss Chin"(48) He works for the Chinese embassy as a undercover, with a mission to stay close with Gallimard, the French diplomat working for the Germans who had sensitive documents that the Chinese was interested in. "Remember: when working for the Great Proletarian State, you represent our Chairman Mao in every position you take"(48) With the trust that Gallimard had in Song, he photographed these sensitive document for Song without questioning, from there, Song would pass on these document to the Chinese embassy. "He'd photograph them for me, and I'd pass them on to the Chinese embassy" (81) It is no doubt that Gallimard never knew that Song was a woman after sleeping in the same bed for 20 years. When Gallimard asked to take off Song's clothes, Song refused to do so and said that she was very modest and it was a Chinese custom. Therefore it showed that Gallimard had never seen his girlfriend naked. "No… let me… keep my clothes: But…: Please… it all frightens me. I'm a modest Chinese girl."(40) With the intelligence and the ability that Song had, his intentional purpose went effectively as expected. At the end of the play, Gallimard found out that Song was not only a spy working for the Chinese embassy but also a man. He did not mind the truth, after knowing that it has all been a 20 years of fake dream. When Song wanted to reveal the true face of him to Gallimard, he begs over and over for him not to. Gallimard said, "So…please…don't change." Song replied, "You know I have to. You know I will. And anyway, what difference does it make? No matter what your eyes tell you, you can't ignore the truth. You already know too much" (78) His fantasy woman had blocked his vision, which made him easily be tricked in the hands of Song. "One, because when he finally met his fantasy woman, he wanted more then anything to believe that she was, in fact, a woman."(83) Love had warped Gallimards judgment, blinded his eyes and rearranged the very lines on his face. "In public, I have continued to deny that Song Liling is a man."(92)