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Madame Bovary

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Madame Bovary

Throughout the text of Madame Bovary, a romantic novel by Gustave Flaubert, different uses of metaphysics are displayed, drastically changing the readers interoperation of it. Not only does Emma Bovary's reality shift when her love interests change, but also the reality of the characters she interacts with, and the metaphysical reality the reader gets from the text.

We are first introduced to Charles, who was trapped in an unloving relationship with his wife Heloise, until her misfortunate death. Charles, when introduced to Emma was captured by her beauty. When he marries her, Charles's reality is that he is happy with his new wife, her being so different than his last one. Charles is blindly in love with Emma, and Emma, being the hopeless romantic she is, thinks she loves him as well. As the novel continues, Emma is unsatisfied with Charles. Emma's marital dissatisfaction is the first glimpse of Emma's ever changing reality. Emma, first excited with her marriage, after time, grew bored of it, and eventually she became depressed. Only when confronted with a new love interest, Leon, does Emma's mood drastically change. While meeting with Leon, Emma grows more and more fond of him because he seems like a romantic too. They share their love for romantic novels, and once again, Emma believes she is in love, and gets Leon to believe he loves her too. At this point, Emma's reality is all hearts and flowers, she's fallen into her phase of romanticism. Leon, on the other hand, is intimidated by her sentiments. He is also younger than Emma, and is tempted to see what romances await him in Paris. Leon's reality of his relationship with Emma is changed when he begins to think of what romances lie ahead for him. One of Emma's characteristics is that her romantic nature is always conflicting with her reality, causing her discontent. While Emma is in this stage of discontent, she has an incident with her daughter Berthe, and pushes her causing her to fall and cut herself. At this point the text is positing another form of metaphysics, the reader's reality. From a realist point of view, Emma is an unfaithful wife, and an abusive mother. However an idealist may sympathize with Emma, seeing how she longs for romance and can't seem to find it. The basic conflict in Emma's situation is that she is unable to accept the world as it is, and the fact that she does not have the power to make her world the way she wants it. Emma's depression continues and eventually starts affecting her health. Emma rejection the life she has is symbolized in the burning of her bridal wreath.

Emma's sour mood and irritableness continues until another interest appears, Rodolphe, a rich landowner who brings a servant to be treated by Charles. Emma's beauty captivates Rodolphe and he indiscreetly begins trying to seduce Emma. Her fantasies of romance once again take over her reality. Emma gives in to Rodolphe's attempts to seduce her, and they begin a full fledges affair. Emma begins sneaking off to meet Rodolphe and neglects her duties at home. Rodolphe differs than Leon in that Leon was a sentimental romantic, seducing Emma with talk of romance. Since Rodolphe, is a rich man, his wealth gave Emma visions of a sophisticated romantic life. Rodolphe's reality is that Emma is a beautiful woman who yearns to escape her marriage and desires a lover, so he aggressively takes advantage of her, knowing that her marital status poses as an excuse for seduction, without worrying about commitment. Emma's attraction to material things and visions of romance leads her to accept a superficial vision of love. Since Rodolphe's relationship with Emma is purely sexual, Emma's fantasies of romance begin to bore Rodolphe, and he quickly loses interest with her, causing the affection he had once shown her to diminish. Again, Emma's reality changed. Since Rodolphe actions no longer reflected that of Emma's fantasies, she began to question herself again. The metaphysical evidence here is that Emma has this reality of romance and is willing to give up her whole life for these romantic love affairs. Never in the novel does she actually, think of what romance

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