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Might it not be that the word papillon here is not referring to a butterfly but to a kind of person who goes from one thing to another in a kind of coquettish way, a kind of dilatante.


Did the original sentence refer to a male human becoming a butterfly as in the Zhuangzi story? Zhuangzi rêve qu'il devient un papillon qui rêve qu'il est Zhuangzi qui rêve qu'il devient un papillon... et il se réveille (mais où et quand ?). If not the Il is strange in French too. One would rather use ça (or cela) for the subject pronoun: Ça devient un ...


Il devient un papillon is quite uncommon as a sentence, the usual one is elle devient un papillon as the only well known entity that can become a butterfly is a caterpillar, i.e. une chenille which is a feminine word but in any case, both il and elle devient un papillon are correct. How these sentences should be translated in English is off topic here but ...

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