ACT II: It is three years later and Pinkerton has long since left Japan. Butterfly has borne him a son, named Trouble, but is virtually penniless. Suzuki implores the gods for help, but Butterfly is sure that Pinkerton will return as promised, when the robins again nest in the Spring. She describes the joy that will be hers when Pinkertonís ship enters the harbor. Sharpless arrives with a letter announcing Pinkertonís return with his American wife, but before he can read it to Butterfly, Goro enters with Prince Yamadori, a wealthy nobleman who wishes to marry Butterfly. She reminds him she is already married and they leave. Sharpless finally reads Pinkertonís letter to a disbelieving Butterfly, who brings in her son and tells Sharpless she is convinced that when Pinkerton learns of their child he will return to her. Deeply moved, Sharpless leaves, promising to tell Pinkerton of his son. Suzuki enters berating the wimpering Goro, who has been telling people the babyís father is unknown. Butterfly threatens to kill Goro, but Suzuki saves him. A cannon in the harbor announces the arrival of a ship. With a telescope, Butterfly identifies it as Pinkertonís ship, the Abraham Lincoln. Butterfly puts on her wedding gown while Suzuki dresses the child, and they take up their vigil, watching for Pinkertonís return. Eventually,Suzuki and Trouble fall asleep, but Butterfly waits patiently as a sad humming is heard in the background.
ACT: III At dawn, Suzuki sends Butterfly and her son to rest. Pinkerton, his wife Kate and Sharpless enter. Sharpless explains to Suzuki that Kate and Pinkerton have come to take the child. Suzuki breaks down in despair, and Pinkerton leaves after singing a heartbroken farewell. Suzuki agrees to tell Butterfly, after being assured by Kate that she will treat the child as her own. Butterfly enters eagerly looking for Pinkerton, but upon seeing Kate, she realizes they will take her child from her. She agrees to give up her son, but only if Pinkerton will return for him in person. Butterfly sends Suzuki to the garden, then stabs herself with an ancestral dagger which is inscribed: ďDeath with honor when one can no longer live in honor.Ē She dies as Pinkerton rushes in sobbing her name.