Madame Bovary Summary – Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary Summary - Gustave Flaubert
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“Madame Bovary” is the first novel published by the French writer Gustave Flaubert in 1856.

Summary of Madame Bovary Book

Charles Bovary was born as the only son of a middle-class family and became a doctor by establishing his practice in a rural village. He married an older woman for financial gain but, after her death, Charles married Emma Roualt, an attractive young woman who was the daughter of one of his patients. Emma initially found excitement and contentment in her marriage, but she quickly became bored and disillusioned with her new life due to her superficial romantic ideals. Her dissatisfaction led to her falling ill.

For the health of self, the Bovarys moved to a new town where their daughter was born. Emma’s unhappiness persisted, and she began to harbor romantic desires for Leon, a young law clerk. Emma’s distress and disappointment intensified after Leon left the town to study law. She neglected her duties as a wife and mother, and her efforts to please Bovary were unsuccessful. Emma failed to appreciate or understand his loyal love for her.

Eventually, Emma entered into a relationship with Rodolphe, a local landowner. When she separated from him, she fell seriously ill. After recovering, Emma encountered Leon in Rouen and began a relationship with him. To meet Leon weekly and fulfill her other desires, Emma freely spent her husband’s money and incurred many debts. She concealed these from Bovary and obtained Power of Attorney to have complete control over financial matters.

Unpaid bills accumulated, and creditors obtained a judgment against her. Desperately trying to find money, Emma turned to both Rodolphe and Leon, but neither was willing or able to help. Overwhelmed by shame and despair, she poisoned herself. Shortly thereafter, her husband, now a ruined and broken man, also died, leaving their daughters in poverty.

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