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Lust In Madame Bovary And No Exit

1472 words - 6 pages

In Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’, and Sartre’s ‘No Exit’ lust is a major theme. It is expressed by theprotagonist Emma Bovary, in ‘Madame Bovary’, and is conveyed through all three characters, Inez, Estelle and Garcin, in ‘No Exit’. Emma’s life is observed intricately through an omniscient narrator who engages in realistic descriptions of her life. She is a tragic and unfulfilled dreamer. She aspires to have an aristocratic life, although she is clearly from the bourgeois class. She continuously seeks ways to initiate the romantic fantasies and illusions that she has gained from romantic novels, into her everyday life, one of the major factors that have led to her ruin. Eighty seven years later, also in France, Sartre was an existentialist author that used many existentialist ideas throughout ‘No Exit’, which are especially communicated through Inez. Garcin, Estelle and Inez are all in hell, due to the bad faith. According to Sartre, bad faith is self-deception and turning away from your responsibilities and freedom, which Estelle, Inez and Garcin expressed through incorrect actions in facing their lives’ circumstances. As the novel proceeds, we find that each of their sins involved lust, but each in a different way. They each seek this passion and desire in order to fulfill their sexual need, carving their own path to ruin. This essay will examine the lust that has been expressed by the characters in both novels, leading to severe consequences.
Emma and Estelle are quite similar characters. They are both victims of lust in their own stories. Both are extremely dissatisfied in their marriages ‘Oh, why, dear God, did I marry him?’(Flaubert Pg41). This leads them each to seek refuge through extramarital affairs. Estelle takes a younger lover, while Emma takes two, Rodolphe and Leon. In Parallel with her sentimental novels, Emma becomes irrationally and almost uncontrollably obsessed with romance, fashion, prestige, and materialism ‘Emma sought to find out exactly what was meant in real life by the words felicity, passion and rapture, which had seemed so fine on the pages of the book’ (Flaubert Pg33). Her greed, dissatisfaction and illusions take her away from the reality she lives in, and every now and again drop her back into a flood of negative consequences. Even when Emmautilizes extramarital affairs, she is still unsatisfied. Estelle’s persistent desire for others’ proof of their love for her only reinforces her pathway to destruction. She wants to become objectified, being-for-others. They both have sexual desires; however in contrast, Estelle is willing to do anything satisfy them, even if through the loss of her freedom by becoming an object. By using this person as a sexual object, she equally becomes one. Throughout the play she consistently craves Garcin’s look, touch, and desire, ‘I’ll sit on your sofa and wait for you to take some notice of me’ (Sartre Pg10). However, as Inez says, she does not seek this in Garcin specifically but in...

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