Madame Bovary was problematic in nineteenth century France because Flaubert glorified adultery and disgraced marriage. The problem with Emma was that there was no double standard in abuse and disrespect towards men. In Madame Bovary, men are problematically used as sexual entertainment because there was a double standard in nineteenth century France. Madame Bovary, or Emma, is problematic caused by her marriage, which she finds to be dull and mundane. Emma was problematic with her love affairs with Rodolphe. More problematic sexual desires are revealed in a rendezvous with Leon. The theme that Emma's happiness was more important than Charles' happiness was problematic. Lastly, Emma is in control over Charles' privately was problematic in nineteenth century France.
In Madame Bovary, Flaubert wrote about problematic issues that a wife can successfully get away with adulterous relations. Flaubert writes, "Emma was finding in adultery all the banalities of marriage" (Madame 272). In fact, Madame Bovary was unofficially was given the second title, "A History of the Adulteries of a Provincial Wife" (Madame 329). Furthermore men were supposed to be stronger than women, for women were publicly perceived as weaker during the nineteenth century. For instance women were not allowed to vote in France until women suffrage was extended in 1944 (Geary 470). Because Flaubert did not write about women being perceived as weaker, Emma's behavior was problematic and considered taboo. Thus, Flaubert was charged with pornography and blasphemy, and the book was banned (Geary 473). The government wanted Flaubert to denounce Emma, because she was problematic, but he refused to do so (Geary 473). Adultery and a disgraced marriage were not correct women roles and a violation of the female sexuality. However, there is a double standard.
Flaubert in many ways depicts that there is a double standard when it comes to making the opposite sex happy in private. In Madame Bovary, men are problematically used as sexual entertainment. Men unconventionally pleased the sexual desire of women. It usually was vise-versa.; thus Emma was publicly perceived as problematic. As Flaubert described Emma's affair with Leon, it shows that the line for a double standard has become blurry. "He never disputed any of her ideas; he fell in with all her tastes: he was becoming her mistress, far more than she was his" (Madame 316). Because "he was becoming her mistress" and "never disputed any of her ideas," shows that the double standard no longer applies. Women were there to make a man happy and agree with everything a man said, but a man was not suppose to be there to make the woman happy and agree with everything the woman said. A man being a mistress of a woman was taboo; however, vise-versa was generally accepted by the public. Many of the nineteenth century men felt Emma was problematic was treating a man as a "mistress", that is why, as noted above, they banned the book.
In nineteenth century France, there was a double standard. A man could abuse his wife and have sexual entertaining affairs and was not frowned on by society. The problem with Emma was that there was no double standard in abuse and disrespect towards men. "She wished she could attack all men, spit in their faces, grind them into the dust" (Madame 263). Spitting in a man's face would have been a direct insult during nineteenth century France and saw as clearly problematic. On the other hand, spitting into a woman's face may not have been so taboo. Flaubert's Madame Bovary portraits Emma as problematic with her private sexual desires with Rodolphe and Leon.
The sexual desires and adulterous affairs were problematic. Emma was problematic with her love affairs with Rodolphe. Emma's thoughts after her first sexual encounter with Rodolphe. "How she had suffered! But now her hour of triumph had come; and love, so long repressed was gushing forth in joyful effervescence. She savored it...
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