Emma Bovary's Behavior

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Emma Bovary’s life consists of many events that lead her from innocence to a path of destruction and despair. To gain a better understanding of Emma’s behavior and decisions that shapes her personality, the paper aims to analyze various aspects of her life through Freud’s psychoanalytic perspective. Specifically how the id, ego, and superego interacts to create her behavioral patterns. A prominent behavioral tendency of Emma’s personality is how often she spends time fantasizing over romance novels and the idea of love. Emma’s id needs are sexual, which is motivated by the sexual instinct (Eros). Although, her preoccupation with romance isn’t strictly sexual, but it can be seen as the manifestation of sexual desires. Most notably, her passion…show more content…
Emma is either a loving wife or a devoted lover. The first change in behavior occurs when Rodolphe grows tired of Emma’s excessive emotions and becomes unresponsive to her, so Emma also goes back to her husband and care for her child. The second change ensues when Rodolphe abandons her and she becomes friends with the villagers and maintains a kind demeanor. Evidently, Emma only strives for moral excellence when her id needs are not satisfied. Her drastic change in behavior is the result of a weak ego that is either dominated by the id or the superego, but never a balance. Nevertheless, the ego is mostly dominated by the id, and the superego only plays a role when the id needs cannot be satisfied immediately. Furthermore, her religious behavior is also another reoccurring pattern that makes up part of her drastic behavioral tendencies. Emma asks the priest for advice when she discovers feelings for Leon. She becomes a devoted Catholic after Rodolphe’s abandonment and takes a tour of the Cathedral to keep Leon waiting. Here, religion is symbolic for Emma’s superego. Emma’s superego uses religious activities to temporarily protect her from id impulses. However, it is also obvious that the superego is not effective because she only turns to religion to suppress id’s immoral thoughts and is frequently used as a last…show more content…
In the beginning, she becomes depressed with her married life. She also becomes ill after Leon leaves and when Rodolphe deserts her. Emma is sick whenever her id impulses are not satisfied. Her sickness is the outcome of a lack of ego strength to cope with opposing pressures. Her problems originate from the dominance of the id impulses over ego and superego. The id relies heavily on external conditions, especially men to satisfy its demands. Hence, when external conditions do not satisfy the id, the ego is unable to cope or develop defense mechanisms fast enough to protect herself. The id that follows the pleasure principle requires immediate gratification. Therefore, she spends most of her time dissatisfied and unable to move on and forever trapped in the reality of a middle-class
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