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In the early nineteenth century, Don Jose Mizarabengoa, a gentleman and ambitious young corporal in the Spanish dragoons, arrives for duty in Seville and immediately is enchanted by Carmen, a beautiful, seductive gypsy who steals his watch. Despite warnings that Carmen is a liar, a thief and a cheat, Jose becomes infatuated with her. When the fiery Carmen slashes a peasant woman's face for insulting her, Jose is ordered to arrest her, but then allows her to escape. As punishment, Jose is broken in rank and confined to guard duty. Jose's commanding officer, the colonel, also succumbs to Carmen's charms, thus arousing Jose's jealousy. On the night that Carmen tells Jose to meet her at her quarters, a fortune teller warns her that she will be killed by the man she really loves. The superstitious Carmen is unnerved by the prediction, but nevertheless keeps her dalliance with Jose. When the colonel finds Jose in Carmen's room, he challenges him to a duel, and Carmen trips the officer, sending him plunging to his death on Jose's sword. Now wanted for murder, Jose flees with Carmen to her gypsy hideout in the mountains and there learns that she is married to Garcia, a ruthless killer. Fueled by jealousy over Carmen, an intense hatred brews between the two men, finally culminating in a knife fight in which Jose kills Garcia. Jose then marries Carmen and assumes leadership of the band. Carmen refuses to relinquish her independence, however, and consequently, quarrels constantly with Jose. One day, Carmen goes to Cordoba for supplies and there meets Lucas, a famous bullfighter, and becomes his lover. When Jose goes to the city after her, Pablo, one of the band, betrays him to the police for the reward. Jose finds Carmen outside the bullring, but when he begs her to return to the hills with him, she refuses and spits at him. Fulfilling the fortune teller's prophecy, Jose stabs her. At that moment, the police shoot him down, and he dies with Carmen clutched in his arms.