Carmen is originally a novel published in 1845 by Prosper Mérimée. The story follows along the lines of a rogue who killed his love interest through a complex web of deception and jealously, later turning himself in. Carmen is considered to be the hero though with her behaviour in the film it would be understandable to label her as an anti hero. It has been remade several times due to its popularity and Carmen even has a statue dedicated to her in Sevilla- quite impressive for a fictional character!
The story is told in first person in a way that makes the reader think he too has experienced this tale first hand. The narrator speaks about his travels, which have him eventually bumping into Don Jose, the aforementioned rogue. The narrator is warned that Jose is a bad character and should be avoided, but instead of avoiding him he becomes friends with him and lets him know that he is being informed on. The story later cuts to the meeting of the narrator and Carmen, a gypsy who is ready to tell the narrator his fortune whilst having her eyes fixated on his watch. After details about his fortune have been divulged, their encounter is interrupted by Don Jose. He proceeds to get the narrator out of there, which prompts a negative response from Carmen. The narrator later finds that his watch, which Carmen had been eyeing, has been swiped and he realizes that Carmen obviously does not have the innocent intentions he originally thought.
Don Jose had met Carmen whilst working in a cigar factory in which he had been working as a guard. She got in trouble for the vicious act of cutting an x shape into a fellow workers face. Following this act, Don Jose proceeds to arrest Carmen, though his decision is soon reserved. In a moment of bad judgement she convinces him that she is Basque, being from there himself, he lets her go. For his actions he is punished but she eventually returns to provide him with her own form of compensation. She even manages to convince him to let her and friends smuggle past him. The following events depict Don Jose fighting his lieutenant and, after killing him, has to flee with Carmen. The story follows their escapades and shows the development of Jose's jealously upon seeing Carmen using her womanly charm to get whatever they need. He soon discovers that she has a husband and kills him in his attempts to persuade Carmen to run away with him. After this series of events, she explains how she is not feeling the same for him as once before and he makes the mistake of killing her in haste, after which he surrenders.