M. Butterfly Questions and Answers
by David Henry Hwang

M. Butterfly book cover
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What is the climax of M. Butterfly?

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In order to understand the climax of the play M. Butterfly, it is important to review the meaning of “climax” in terms of theatre. The climax is the point at which the action starts during which the solution is given. Therefore, the climax is the turning point of the play and can often be seen as a “crisis” that eventually leads to the resolution and/or conclusion. Traditionally in a five-act play, the climax is close to the conclusion of act 3. However, in the nineteenth century, five-act plays were more commonly replaced by three-act plays, and the climax was placed close to the end of the play right before the conclusion. When looking at M. Butterfly, it is important to keep in mind that it is a three-act play, so the climax is likely near the end of the play.

With that being said, I believe the climax of the play M. Butterfly is near the end when Gallimard finds out Song is actually a man, not the woman Gallimard believed him to be. Upon returning to France, Gallimard told his...

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