La Dame aux Camellias was originally a novel by Alexandre Dumas, but has been interpreted over and over for the screen and stage. The heroine, Marguerite Gautier, is a beautiful Parisian courtesan who falls in love with a provincial bourgeois. She forsakes her lifestyle to live with her lover in the countryside, but their happiness is thwarted when her lover’s father convinces the scandalous, yet virtuous courtesan to leave him for his own good. Margeurite’s lover believes that she has left him for another man, and she perishes from tuberculosis, alone and still very much in love.
Her story has been the inspiration for the opera La Traviata, films in multiple languages, a ballet scored by Chopin, a drag show in the seventies. She has been played by some of the most famous actresses of all time, including Tallulah Bankhead, Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse.