Analysis Of Realism In Madame Bovary

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In Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert blatantly ridicules Romanticism, by making a parody of it and hinting that Realism derives as an answer to Romanticism. This parody criticises and recognises the comical side of romantic fantasy, but also offers a realistic view. Realism depicted in such a form offers criticism and is provoked by Romanticism itself. The two thereby appear together and Realism undermines Romanticism. A character such as Rodolphe, who is a parody that borders the illusory side of Romanticism, is an example. Flaubert using Rodolphe as caricature thus mocks Romanticism. His characteristics are similar to the Byronic hero, “a man proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection” but are exaggerated by Flaubert in a highly grotesque manner.

Rodolphe’s a man whose “temperament was brutal and his intelligence shrewd” . The two adjectives paint the picture of a heartless man. After the first meeting at the Bovary’s house, Rodolphe finds Emma “pleasing” and is “dreaming about her” . He knows that Emma is “Gasping for love, just like a carp on the kitchen-table wants to be in water” . The verb ‘gasping’ makes Emma sound desperate and the simile compares her and the ‘carp on the kitchen-table’ creates a rather grotesque image than a romantic one. He knows that “three words of gallantry” would make Emma fall for him. He decides to abandon his current
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