The Death of Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary

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Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary is the detailed tale of the upbringing of a common French farm girl and her experiences as a member of the Bourgeoisie social party. At the end of the novel, Emma, the main character, decides to commit suicide through the use of arsenic because of the large amount of debt she acquired through purchases of gifts for her infidelity partners. Occurring in chapter eight of the last section, the novel continues with descriptions of the funeral, her father’s reaction, and her family’s continuing life. However, the book is centered on the life of the grand Madame Bovary, and is not titled Madame and Sir Bovary. To this, Flaubert uses the death of the main character to purposefully showcase the overall impact her actions have over those who experienced her presence.
Dying a rather painful and laborious death rather than the peaceful and easy one she once imagined, she leaves large quantities of debt to her dutiful and benevolent husband, Charles. Being a Romantic character, Emma succumbs believing that those in the city will mourn her death and completely be unable to regain solid ground in mental and emotional solitude. Although they are extremely forlorn, the characters are able to regain emotional stability, unlike what Emma imagines. Homais requests that the foreign doctor, Doctor Larivière, join him to a finely prepared breakfast whilst Emma vomits blood and has bodily contractions and Charles cries profusely for his wife’s health to be restored. Her death ultimately conveys the affect her life has on those around her. For Homais, she is representative of a simplistic cover-up and article in the “Fanal”. And for her dear husband, her death is symbolic of the collapse of the Earth’s core, to the poin...

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...sage to his audience that death is the inevitable part of life and although one may seem to be unforgettable, this shall never truly be the case. For each character closely tied to Emma, especially Charles, she left difficult ramifications. Leaving debt, unrequited love, and emotions, she exceled in leaving an impression of grand proportions; however after due mourning time was given, the once unforgettable soul is now forgotten. Flaubert uses the concept to convey his perception that life is finite and the world shall forever be infinite, meaning that one may presume that existence revolves around their sole life. However, once the narcissistic personality disappears, so does the earthly impact and importance. In short, Emma may have after-life effects, nonetheless, she is not thought of as a cherished person, but rather is not thought of frequently or positively.
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