M. Butterfly Act III, scenes 1-3: Questions and Answers

David Henry Hwang

Act III, scenes 1-3: Questions and Answers

Questions
1. Why was Song able to dupe Gallimard into thinking he was a man?

2. Is Song sure that Gallimard never knew Song was a man?

3. What happens after Song strips?

4. How does Gallimard regress back into a world of fantasy?

5. What role in the Puccini opera does Song take by reciting the lines “Butterfly? Butterfly?” to end the play?

Answers
1. According to Song, men believe what the want to. Additionally, according to the Western stereotype of the Oriental, all Orientals all feminine in nature.

2. We do not know for sure. Song admits that Gallimard never asked outright. The implication is that Gallimard intentionally remained ignorant. Judging from Gallimard’s reaction, he did not fully accept that Song was a man until he saw him naked.

3. Song loses his hold and allure over Gallimard after he strips. Realizing that his ideal love has been based on deception, Gallimard finally sees Song for what he is. Song is not happy to have lost the control that he retained for over twenty years.

4. His illusions shattered, Gallimard regresses back into the world of fantasy by deciding to identify himself as Madame Butterfly, from the Puccini opera, rather than Pinkerton. He takes this identification to the logical extreme by committing suicide like the heroine.

5. Song’s final lines mirror those of Pinkerton’s, the man who has callously manipulated ideal love.