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Minor Character Cronfrontation In Madame Bovary

1457 words - 6 pages

Recognized for its ideas challenging reality and romanticism, Madame Bovary, was written by Gustave Flaubert in 1857 Victorian France. Flaubert explores the discontented life of Emma Bovary. Flaubert portrays the minor characters as physical representations of Emma’s internal conflicts. The internal conflicts that she faces are presented through several minor characters. The internal struggle that Emma faces regarding the reality that she rejects, Flaubert represents through her daughter. Emma consistently falls to the challenges of temptation throughout Madame Bovary, clearly displayed through the fortunes of the apothecary, Monsuire Homais. Emma’s romantic ideals of a life like those in ...view middle of the document...

Emma’s confession emphasizes this distaste for the reality. While Berthe’s position as a minor character directly relates to being Emma’s daughter, another minor character supports this conflict of reality on a more internal level.
The Blind Beggar mirrors Emma’s internal state at the point of her crisis. His physical appearance consumes the entirety of her corrupt mentality. The Beggar and Emma’s interactions bring awareness to his role as reflecting how the reader views her emotional breakdown. Her visionary romantic life has slipped through her fingers as she faces the reality. This concept, so plainly displayed as Flaubert writes, “The blind man squatted on his haunches, tilted back his head, rolled his greenish eyes, stuck out his tongue, rubbed his stomach with both hands and let out a kind of muffled howl, like a starving dog”, indirectly compares Emma to a demented dog (260). Her damaged perception of reality has left her with an outer shell of a put together Victorian women with her internal state equivalent to the beggar’s appearance. The description of the beggar depicts Emma when she internalizes the irony of being one with the beggar. Flaubert highlights this moment of realization writing, “…imagining that she could see the wretched beggar’s hideous features looming in the shadows of eternity like the face of terror itself,” (282). Both Berthe and the blind beggar unite Emma’s internal conflict of rejecting her reality and discovering the extent of her self-destructive fantasy.
Emma compensates for her lack of satisfaction by falling short of her storybook life, leading her deeper into despair. Influenced from her countless romantic novels, her story book ideals eventually cause her death. The apothecary, Homais, mocks Emma by ending up with his version of her ideal status. Flaubert introduces Homais as a man fulfilled with his life, describing him likewise, “His face expressed nothing but self-satisfaction, and he seemed to take life as calmly as the golden finch in the wicker cage hanging above his head” (64). Emma constantly struggles with the internal conflict of reaching her romantic ideals of happiness and success while Homais unintentionally flaunts the life that she strives for but misses due to her distorted efforts. Living in close proximity to Homais, Emma is consistently in range of his good fortune. His physical presence infringes upon Emma’s aspirations as their interactions inconspicuously remind Emma of her corrupt situation. However this does not become obvious until the conclusion of Emma’s efforts. Flaubert induces irony stating, “He now has more patients than the devil himself could handle; the authorities treat him with deference and public opinion supports him. He has just been awarded the cross of the Legion of Honor” (303). After Emma’s death, Homias continues to gain status and meet the romantic ideals of Emma’s desires. Homais unintentionally breaches Emma’s ideal status, while Monsuier Lheureux...

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