Madame Bovary: Destiny

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Madame Bovary: Destiny

Destiny: the seemingly inevitable succession of events.1

Is this definition true, or do we, as people in real life or characters in novels, control our own destiny? Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary exemplifies how we hold destiny in our own hands, molding it with the actions we take and the choices we make. Flaubert uses Emma Bovary, the main character of his novel, to demonstrate this. Throughout her life, Emma makes many decisions, each one of them affecting her fate and by analyzing these decisions one could see from the beginning that Emma is destined to suffer. However, one can also pinpoint such decisions making events as her marriage, her daughter's birth, her adulterous relationship with Leon and her taking the poison, as times when, if she had made a different decision, her life would not have ended as tragically.

When we first meet Emma, the future Madame Bovary, we perceive her as being a woman who is refined perhaps a bit more than the average peasant girl living on a farm. We conclude this because she attended a boarding school where she was taught "dancing, geography, needlework and piano." (p.15) Charles, on the other hand, gives her more credit than she deserves. He regards her as well very educated, sophisticated, sensitive and loving, with the last characteristic being the one she lacks most. Soon after Emma marries Charles we see her unhappiness, and we are faced with a dilemma, why did she marry him? There are numerous possible answers to this, but the end conclusion is the same: if she had not married him it would have been better for both of them. Emma would not have been so miserable and depressed throughout her life and Charles would have found someone who would return his love and who would appreciate him. Throughout the novel Emma never expresses her appreciation for her husband. On the contrary, she often expresses her loathing for him - "Charles never seemed so disagreeable to her, his fingers...
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