Tragic end for Madam Butterfly | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 4, 2015
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Tragic end for Madam Butterfly

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 12:00am

Read the PASSAGE and fill in the blanks with the given words.

It is the 19th [1] ______________ and Japan has recently opened its [2] _____________ to the Americans. An American naval [3] ____________________ , Lieutenant Pinkerton, is going to be in Nagasaki for some [4] _____________ , so he [5]________________ to buy a house and a 'wife'. For him the arrangement is [6] ______________________ and he knows he will go back home later and marry an American [7] ________________. The poor girl, however, who [8] _________________ to marry him in [9] _________________ to help her mother, takes the marriage very [10] _______________. She wants to do her [11] ______________ to please her husband, and even becomes a Christian. This is too [12] _______________ for her uncle who comes to the house just as the marriage is taking [13] _______________. He shouts [14] ______________ at her, and her family, feeling [15] ___________ of her, and leaves.

agrees; ashamed; doors; order; temporary; angrily; best; much; place; time; arranges; century; officer; seriously; woman

So begins the story of Madam Butterfly, which with all its strong [16] ______________, was very suitable to be turned [17] _______________ an opera by Puccini (poo-chee-nee).

The first part of the opera ends with Pinkerton and Butterfly singing love songs to one [18] __________________ in the garden, but the [19] _______________ part opens three years [20] ______________ with Butterfly's maid telling her their money is all [21] ______________ and that Pinkerton will never come back. Butterfly, however, remains loyal. She [22] _________________ him and insists he will return. A [23] ___________ Japanese man arrives asking for her [24] ____________ in marriage, but she turns him [25] ____________. As if to prove she is right, a letter from Pinkerton [26] ____________________ at that moment. Actually, it is a good-bye letter, but Butterfly does not know this and the [27] _________________ who is [28] ______________ it to her dares not translate it properly, but he does tell her she should marry the Japanese man. In reply, Butterfly hurries inside and [29] _________________ out a baby, Pinkerton's son whom he does not even know [30] _________. Shocked, the Consul rushes off.

about; carries; down; hand; reading; another; Consul; emotions; into; rich; arrives; defends; gone; after; second

Then a gun announces the [31] ____________ of an American warship, Pinkerton's ship. A trusting Butterfly starts to [32] ___________ the house with flowers for the return of her [33] __________________. She even puts on her wedding [34] _________________, and sits waiting in the moonlight.

It is a long wait and when Pinkerton arrives, Butterfly is [35] _________________ with the child. Pinkerton brings his wife and the Consul [36] ______________ him. He now knows about the boy and his wife is [37] ___________________ to take him to America with [38] ________________. Pinkerton is afraid to see Butterfly and leaves. Butterfly [39] _______________ believe it when Mrs Pinkerton introduces herself and asks for the [40] _____________________. Her dreams [41] ______________been smashed.

Then comes the [42] ______________________ final scene. Butterfly prepares the baby for his father, [43] _______________ herself and dies as Pinkerton arrives. You can imagine how sad the [44] _______________ is as the tragic opera ends and the audience wipe away their [45] _________________.

arrival; child; have; music; them; beloved;

decorate; heart-breaking; stabs; willing; cannot; dress; indoors; tears; with

Extra activities:

Talk about why people like sad love stories.

Do you think women take relationships more seriously than men?

Role-play part of the story.

Listen to some of the opera music and see if it fits the mood.

What sort of ending would you like for



1. century; 2. doors; 3. officer; 4. time; 5. arranges; 6. temporary; 7. woman; 8. agrees; 9. order; 10. seriously; 11. best; 12. much; 13. place; 14. angrily; 15. ashamed; 16. emotions; 17. into; 18. another; 19. second; 20. later; 21. gone; 22. defends; 23. rich; 24. hand; 25. down; 26. arrives; 27. Consul; 28. reading; 29. carries; 30. about; 31. arrival; 32. decorate; 33. beloved; 34. dress; 35. indoors; 36. with; 37. willing; 38. them; 39. cannot; 40. child; 41. have; 42. heart-breaking; 43. stabs; 44. music; 45. tears


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