Essay: Power and oppression in the play M. Butterfly

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Essay: Power and oppression in the play M. Butterfly

Sample Essay

M. Butterfly is a play by David Henry Hwang about the real life experience of  a diplomat who has been in an affair with a Chinese singer who is pretending to be a woman. The French diplomat realizes the reality in the year 1986 as he is being charged for treason. It is at this point that he realizes that the Chinese has been in the affair to be able to investigate him and report to the Chinese government (McMahan et al 199). The singer has been able to know many political secrets from the French and this is what he reports to his government.
It is this story that inspires Hwang to create a story explaining the relations that arise between men and women, and Western and Eastern culture.
Power and oppression is a theme that is evident in this story by Hwang. From the start, the diplomat is seen to have some political powers, which he excises through the Chinese actor. However, it is notable that the French diplomat is not free in the Chinese country (McMahan et al 294). He has to be followed by some kind of a detective, the singer who has to report all he does to the Chinese government. This can be seen as colonialism in which a person has no freedom in other people’s country. As the diplomat relates with the singer, we are made aware that he has also oppression characters. After he realizes that his butterfly is a man, he says that he knows that there are women in the world who “want to be treated bad” (Hwang 6).

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