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Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert:An Analysis Of The Characters

1602 words - 7 pages

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert:An Analysis of The CharactersMadame Bovary, written by Gustave Flaubert was considered very controversial when it was first published. The novel was actually tried in a court of justice for obscenity, because it was alleged to be concerned with adultery and contains situations and allusions that shocked the prudish philistine government of Napoleon III. It was cited for "offenses against morality and religion."( Censorship) Fortunately, Flaubert won his case and "Madame Bovary" remains to this day one of the masterpieces of French and world literature. It still holds up fairly well today. The psychological descriptions are so well depicted that they ...view middle of the document...

Despite her fantasies of this ideal lover, Emma would be happy only in her dreams. Her pleasure lay in the dreaming, not in the reality of having a lover. Maybe one of Flaubert's reasons for creating Emma Bovary is to show the wreckage that such dreams can bring when the person tries to impose these dreams on reality. When a character like Emma despises the life around her and tries to live her life as she fantasizes it "should" be, the process can destroy both her and her family. At the end of the novel, not only do Emma and Charles die, but their daughter is condemned to a life in the factories.Some say that, in Emma, Flaubert is allegorizing his own disappointments from life. From his biography one can learn that he was frustrated with society, and maybe he had had it with how narrow-minded people were. In Madame Bovary, Emma is portrayed as extrordinarily selfish, greedy, and foolishly romantic. Flaubert had to have known how ridiculous and ignorant Emma acted in the novel, but perhaps his own feelings mirrored her childish portrayal. In other words, Flaubert had the same feelings but he was aware of their immaturity. This was his only outlet to express his feelings. So, in his sometimes-immature attitude and portrayal of Emma, he was mirroring his own inner demons.Emma has never been really honest with herself. She knows she was being untruthful and adulterous to her husband, but she never acknowledges or understands that she is dishonest with herself. Emma never holds an inner dialog or indulges in any self-reflection other than that of thinking of ways to satisfy her passionate longings. Emma never acknowledges her lack of maternal feelings for her daughter, Berthe. Berthe is only a non-significant character in Emma's life. She very seldom even thought of the child. Emma never acknowledges what she is doing and stops to consider the consequences of her actions when she keeps borrowing money from Monsieur Lheureux, the proprietor of the local dry-goods store.The tragedy of her actions is that Emma, if she had had any self-reflection, if she had once tried to think things out, if she had once tried to really communicate with her husband on a level other than just despise and get frustrated by his unperceptive personality, if she had ever been honest with herself or had conceded that her whole life was based on pleasing herself and abusing everyone else in her life, if she had just once, thought of anyone other than herself. Emma would have had a chance at redemption, a chance to mature, a chance to become the wife that Charles thought he had married.Charles BovaryCharles is portrayed as a dull country doctor, who is vulgar, primitive, and almost entirely without passion. At the beginning of the novel, Charles is a schoolboy too timid to assert himself. It's only with the greatest effort that he's able to pass his medical college exams. After graduation, his mother secures a job for him in Tostes, then arranges his marriage. He has no idea...

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