To analyse Emma Bovary is a difficult assignment, due to the very complex and often contradictory nature of her character, and the many opposing critical theories that have been written since her death' over 150 years ago. Flaubert's determination to "remain outside of his book and to assume the role of a manipulator of marionettes" adds to this sense of mystery surrounding Emma Bovary, who is essentially a confused young woman, trapped in a stifling society who tries so desperately to be something she is not. She is a woman so fixated on creating the life she dreams of that she eventually self-destructs, a broken and dejected victim.
Before discussing in detail the various elements of her personality, it is necessary to highlight the social position she is involuntarily placed in. This will in turn give rise to, and in many cases explanation for, the way in which she responds to various events in her life, and therein revealing her true colours.
Emma is born a woman in France during the early 19th Century, and as such is doomed from the start to be a victim of the misogynistic bourgeoisie. As was the case for all women at the time, Emma was completely reliant on Charles to provide the quality of life she desired and indeed her very identity as she was... [continues]
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