Right before killing himself on page 92 and 93 Act 3, Scene 3, Gallimard says, “Death with honor is better than life… life with dishonor. (He sets himself center stages, in a seppuku position) The love of a Butterfly can withstand many things–unfaithfulness, loss, even abandonment. But how can it face the one sin that implies all others? The devastating knowledge that, underneath it all, the object of her love was nothing more, nothing less than…a man.”
While this quote does most directly depict Gallimard’s transformation into Butterfly but killing himself due to, for simplicity’s sake, abandonment just as Butterfly in Madame Butterfly ends up doing, I think more than that he kills himself out of complete humiliation and loss. Rather than being so noble and living out his fantasy by killing himself, I feel like the shock of realizing his fantasy was nothing more than a fantasy instead of the reality he thought it was also drives him to kill himself. I also think we see a lot of shame from him when he says that death with honor is better than life with dishonor. He sees Song as having made a fool of out him. Today in class we discussed a lot about the idea of this moment being one of power for Gallimard because he gets to live out his fantasy and escape reality but I want to also consider the idea of this scene being one of Gallimard’s weakness. Throughout the book the woman is portrayed as being weak and submissive and in this scene I think Gallimard can be interpreted as submitting to his loss and humiliation through death as an escape. Do you guys think Gallimard’s speech before his suicide represents his strength or weakness?