Madame Bovary is a realistic novel, in which Gustave Flaubert retells a story of an ordinary woman. Emma Bovary is a character with romantic, but tragic life. Many factors caused the unhappy ending.
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Emma destroys her life by embracing abstractions – passion, happiness – as concrete realities. She ignores material reality itself, as symbolized by money, and is inexorably drawn to financial ruin and suicide (Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature). She tried to base her life on a dream, she was not only the actress, but also an observer of her own life, and she tried to amaze herself. Emma was very emotional, and she doubled her feelings by watching her own life, like a theater play, or comparing with a book. She thought of her life, as if it should have been like life of the heroine in all novels, which young Bovary has read during her studies in the Ursuline nunnery.
Another problem of Emma was her maximalism in everything, what she did. She got bored from the life with her husband Charles so deep, that she became sick. She fell in love with Rodolphe Boulanger, and her love turned to be fanaticism. She was even ready to run away with him and didn’t think about her family. Besides, selfishness was also her bad side. Later charity became Emma’s next passion. Then again – lie. Léon Dupuis was her next lover. She was so obsessed by this affair that she spent all money she had and didn’t have on hotels for their dates.
To the great problems of Bovary we can count her trustfulness and naivety. She trusted all her lovers and expected support from them, but they were wrong men.
Obviously, Flaubert considered Emma to be guilty on all her troubles, because he would not derive a term Bovarysme, that means a tendency toward escaping daydreaming in which the dreamer imagines himself or herself to be a hero or heroine in a romance, while ignoring the everyday realities of the situation (Baldick ). Bovarysme is a psychological disease (Flaubert /by Victor Prombert ).
Although, in my own opinion, asserting, that only she was guilty on all her troubles is going to be very restricted and unilaterally. Charles was not a man of her dreams. He was not a hero, just a usual doctor. He truly loved his wife and worried about her health. He also worried, when she didn’t come home on proper time. Nevertheless he was partially blind, he didn’t notice all her needs, he didn’t understand, what life will satisfy her.
The society, based on self interest and money, had a bad influence on Emma’s life too. Everyone used her. Rodolphe had a love affair with Emma only, because it was interesting for him to observe, how she falls in love with him and how she depends on him. It was like a competition, but when he reached the finish line, it turned to be boring. Léon broke up with Emma only, because his relations with the married woman could be harmful for his carrier. Monsieur Lhereux used her naivety and gave her money, so she has got such a big debt, which caused her financial ruin. Guillaumin was ready to help her to deal with her money problems, but instead he expected intimate gratitude. She had no immunity to vulgarity.
As a conclusion, I would like to say, that Emma is a protagonist and antagonist, transgressor and victim at once. Madame Bovary has chosen her own way. She dreamed about the romantic life from her books, and she got it. She had love and passion, boredom and suffering. Emma’s life was like a romantic novel, but with the real ending.
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