The Tragic Love Triangle of Yonville


Gustave Flubert\'s masterpiece, Madame Bovary, was first published
in 1857. The novel shocked many of its readers and caused a chain
reaction that spread through all of France and ultimately called
for the prosecution of the author. Since that time however,
Madame Bovary, has been recognized by literature critics as being
the model for the present literary period, being the realistic
novel period. It is now considered a novel of great worth and one
which contains an important and moving plot. In addition, it
provides a standard against which to compare the works of writers
to follow. It is nearly impossible to truly understand modern
European and American fiction without reading, Madame Bovary.

Charles Bovary, the only son of a middle-class family, became a
doctor and set up his practice in a rural village. He then
married a women who was quite older then himself. He was
unhappily married to her saying that "Her dresses barely hung on
her bony frame", This coming right before her death. Upon his
wife\'s death, Charles married an attractive young women named Emma
Roualt, the daughter of one of his patients. Emma married Charles
with overwhelming expectations. She thought marriage would be
filled with three things, "bliss, passion, and ecstasy". Emma had
a character that was 1) dissatisfied 2) adulterous and 3) free
spending. For a while she was excited and pleased by her
marriage, but overwhelmed by her new life, she quickly became
dissatisfied. As a result of her dissatisfaction she became
mentally ill.

For the sake of her health the Bovary\'s moved to a new town,
Yonville, where their daughter was born. Emma\'s unhappiness
continued, and she began to have romantic feelings toward Leon, a
young law clerk. After Leon left the town in order to attend law
school. Emma\'s boredom and frustration became more intense after
Leon left. She began to forget her role as a wife and mother.
Charles tried many times to please but none of his efforts were
successful, and she did not value or understand Charles\' love for
her. Finally Emma had an adulterous affair with Rodolphe, a local
land owner. Upon realizing Emma\'s intentions of an affair with
him he states that he is "Gasping for love", and this wins her
heart over. Rodolphe then leaves for a period of six weeks and
Emma then becomes seriously ill again. After her recovery,
Rodolphe returns and the only explanation for his actions is
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder". She then runs across Leon
in Rowen and began to resume were they left off. In order to
afford the trips to Rowen to see Leon and satisfy her own needs,
Emma spent her husbands money freely and incurred many debts. She
kept this secret from Charles and managed to obtain a Power of
Attorney, so that she would have full control over their financial
affairs. Eventually her unpaid bills went long overdue and
judgment was obtained against the creditors. She owed a vast sum
of money, and the sheriff\'s officers arrived to confiscate the
family property. Emma tried frantically to raise the money and
finally turning to Leon, but he was unable to help, nor was he
willing. She even tried to get back Rodolphe, by saying "I stayed
with you, because I couldn\'t tear myself away...", he would have
no part of her anymore and unwilling to help. Out of shame and
despair of herself, she poisons herself to die. Shortly
afterwards, now a ruined and broken man, also died, leaving their
daughter to a life of poverty.