She’s introduced in an 1845 novella in which she wears a short skirt with her Mantilla thrown back to show her shoulders

Jeopardy! aficionados were intrigued by the Final Jeopardy clue on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in the “Famous Characters” category: “She’s introduced in an 1845 novella in which she wears a short skirt with her Mantilla thrown back to show her shoulders.”

Who is Carmen?

The correct response was none other than “Who is Carmen?” from Prosper Mérimée’s novella. This memorable character is known for her passionate and rebellious spirit, capturing readers’ imaginations since the mid-19th century. Her tale of love and tragedy has been retold in various adaptations, most famously in Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen.

Mérimée’s novella, set in Spain, tells the story of a fierce and independent woman who defies social conventions of her time. The description in the clue alludes to the striking image of Carmen, with her daring attire—a short skirt and a mantilla revealing her shoulders—which was quite provocative in 19th-century Europe. Carmen is portrayed as a captivating, free-spirited woman who lives life on her own terms. Her relationship with Don José, a soldier who falls hopelessly in love with her, ultimately leads to a tragic end, symbolizing the destructive power of uncontrolled passion.

Carmen’s Enduring Legacy

Carmen’s character has endured through time due to her complex persona and the universal themes of love, jealousy, and fate that her story explores. In Georges Bizet’s opera, she comes to life in a vibrant, musical adaptation that has captivated audiences for more than a century. Her iconic aria “Habanera” and the dramatic storyline continue to make the opera one of the most performed in the world. Carmen remains a symbol of independence, a character that challenges societal norms, and a fascinating study of human desire.

The Final Jeopardy clue serves as a reminder of Carmen’s lasting influence in literature and performing arts. Whether encountered in Mérimée’s pages or Bizet’s melodies, she continues to intrigue and inspire audiences around the globe.

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