A description of the story:
Drawing on a true event that occurred in the family of his friend, the Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral, [Alphonse Daudet's play, L'Arlésienne] tells the story of two brothers, Frédéri and Janet. The former is hopelessly ensnared in an amour fou for a girl from the neighboring town of Arles (hence the work's title L'Arlésienne) who, although she never actually appears on stage, dominates the action like an early precursor of Du Maurier's Rebecca. Janet, nicknamed "L'Innocent" because of his apparent simple-mindedness and arrested development, has an intuitive understanding for the sufferings of his elder brother.Speaking of tragedies, did you know that Bizet was only 36 when he died? He died thinking that Carmen was a failure.
The "Arlésienne" is discovered, however, to be the mistress of a local grandee. Distraught, Frédéri agrees to marry the first eligible young woman appointed by his overbearing mother. On the day of the wedding, however, he chances to meet the grandee; overwhelmed by the onrush of memories, he commits suicide. Janet is jolted by the event to recover his senses: the mother loses one son only to gain another.
~ Bradford Robinson