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(A harbor city named Nagasaki in Japan)
U.S. Navy Lieutenant B. F Pinkerton will get married with Cio Cio San a young japanese gir! and called as Madame Butterfiy, whom he has met in Nagasaki, according to the japanese customs. Goro, the marriage broker, shows him his new house, and Sharpless, the American Consul arrives when he introduces Suzuki, the maiden. The sounds of Cio Cio San and her friends are heard in the distance, and the bride is approaching. Bonzo, the uncle of the girl and the Buddhist priest, bursts in while the wedding ceremony was ending. They had seen his niece entering into the mission a day before. This meant that she took such marriage so seriously to embrace his Christian faith. Goro curses upon Cio Cio San, This attitude supported by her friends makes the girl upset. Pinkerton takes his wîfe in his arms and takes her to their house by comforting her.
Three years later. Pinkerton has gone, and Cio Cio San has not had any news from him any more. By the mean time, she has a son from Pinkerton. She waits for her husband´s return with her eyes fixed on the harbor. Sharpless comes in and wants to read a letter sent by the Lieutenant. The Lieutenant has married, and Sharpless will say it, but he defers from saying it against the sincerity of the girl Since Goro expects that the Lieutenant will no longer come back, he comes with a Prince named Yamadori as a suitor for Cio Cio San. The reply of Cio Cio San is definite. She is already married and waits for her husband. A war ship comes to the harbor; it is the ship of Pinkerton. Cio Cio San fills the house with flowers with Suzuki.
Cio Cio San waits all the night, but Pinkerton has not come in. Suzuki sends her to another room to sleep. Sharpless, Pinkerton and Kate, his wife, come in to find Suzuki alone early in the morning. The only person that will break the news to Cio Cio San is Suzuki. Pinkerton rushes away with remorse. Cio Cio San faces the truth when she meets Kate. This is her end.