Review: M. Butterfly

M. Butterfly.M. Butterfly
by David Henry Hwang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

M. Butterfly / 0-822-20712-5

No doubt you've heard the story of the man who was married to another man, but claimed to have mistakenly thought that his "wife" was a woman. In this incredible drama, Hwang takes this real life story, often distilled into a joke or a bit of trivia, and creates a compelling drama. He refuses easy answers here, noting that the thing people *really* want to ask is "Did he or didn't he know?" The novelty of the situation shocks us, and we want to hear the details - partly to satisfy a vicarious desire, and partly to reassure ourselves that such deception could not happen to us.

However, Hwang turns the question aside as meaningless and points out that the underlying deception - that of a false lover - is one that we've all seen countless times. The gender of the participants is less important than their feelings and motivations. Whatever else may have occurred, he argues, a human being was used in a terrible way, and his heart was destroyed in the process. Everything else in immaterial.

~ Ana Mardoll

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