Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Literature Analysis


Madame Bovary is the novel written by the outstanding French author Gustave Flaubert. The novel is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the world literature and one of the most famous works of its author. The novel is interesting for its rich plot telling about the fortune of a young woman, the wife of the physician, and her passionate desire to change her life.

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In order to analyze the novel, the following methods have been used: the analysis of theme and the analysis of character in a sociological and psychological context, close textual analysis and the survey of critical opinions. The main point of the paper is the novel Madame Bovary in the world literature.

Personal Impressions

In my opinion, the novel Madame Bovary is one of the most interesting works of French literature. While reading the novel, I have been captivated by the description of the lifestyle and traditions of the French in the XIX century. Besides, it was said that the story underlying the plot of the novel happened in real life though this fact was not proved. This makes the novel even more interesting. It should be said that the work is not difficult to read although several chapters are a little bit oversaturated with the descriptions of settings.

Type of Literary Work

Madame Bovary can be referred to the genre of prose fiction in the classical French literature. The novel is said to be the bright example of realism and naturalism in literature.

Literary Techniques Used

The events depicting the life and death of Emma Bovary, the main character of the novel, are presented in the chronological order. The reader follows her life path and can notice the roots of her tragic death in the sequence of the events happened in her life as well as in the changes occurred in her perception of the surrounding reality. The climax of the plot is the episode when Emma commits suicide by taking the arsenic and Charles, her husband continues to love her and miss her even after he gets to know about her huge debts and unfaithfulness.

The character of Emma can be described as rather complex and believable. The author masterly shows how her character develops through the novel and emphasizes her personal traits that remain static at the same time. Although the character of Emma takes the most important place in the novel, the character of her husband Charles is also important for uncovering the main idea of the work. Rudolph, Emma’s lover and Lheureux, the local shop-keeper who swindled her, are the antagonists of the novel.

Themes of Literary Work

The main themes of the novel are the emptiness of life, the passion for social recognition, the betrayal and loss of values in life.

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Evaluation and Review

“It was a new kind of novel in its day, dealing with matters of everyday life in the French middle class. The social criticism and ironic tone of the book became models for many of the writers who followed” (“Madame Bovary” n.pag.) The publication of the work was the bold action of its author who had broken the grounds of the French literature.

The plot of the novel has been screened several times. However, the filmmakers agree with the fact that the subtle irony of Flaubert is hard to be completely revealed in films (Donaldson-Evans 33).

Overall, the novel Madame Bovary is should be read by everyone as it makes us think about life values and it teaches us not making the faults which can destroy our life.

Works Cited

Donaldson-Evans, Mary. Madame Bovary at the Movies: Adaptation, Ideology, Context. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009. Print.

“Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert” n.d. Web.

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"Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Literature Analysis." StudyCorgi, 5 May 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Literature Analysis." May 5, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Literature Analysis." May 5, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Literature Analysis." May 5, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Literature Analysis'. 5 May.

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