Translation by: femme/600/October 2005
Madame Bovary is the story of a young woman of peasant origin named Emma Rouault who, through some unusual circumstances, marries Doctor Charles Bovary, from her village of birth, who has recently become a widower. Their marriage is arranged by the parents of her husband-to-be rather than being settled upon purely by love. After their marriage, the young couple sets up housekeeping in Tostes. Mr. Bovary is an honest and respectable man but has a very naive nature, having remained his mother's son to a certain degree. He is loved by the people around him and is considered an honorable doctor. He is extremely proud of his profession and he takes it very seriously. In spite of the difficulties his career entails, he is satisfied with the lfe he leads in the company of his wife. Charles Bovary worships his young wife and loves her tenderly. Emma Bovary, for her part, is a romantic and flirtatious woman who is very much given over to daydreaming. From her earliest years, she is fascinated by fairy tales and love stories. Formerly an in-pupil at a convent, she has maintained a certain religious and spiritual attitude and a deep desire to one day come to know the joys of a perfect love. This becomes actualized the day Charles asks for her hand in marriage. At the beginning of their life as a married couple, she truly believes that she is finally experiencing all of those feelings of passion, love, and devotion towards the loved being, all of that which she had heard spoken of before. She is convinced that she will now finally be able to enjoy the pleasures of a life of luxury that will be filled with many bright things. She dreams of stately, perfumed salons, expensive furniture upholstered with silk fabric, fine tableware, and grand, organized parties attended by the uper middle class. After a certain amount of time, however, she realizes that her husband is nothing more than a poor rustic who can hardly imagine a life of this type. He is unable to understand his wife's fantasies and desires. Emma begins to feel an amicable congeniality towards her husband instead of married love. Little by little, she feels strongly rejected by this man who is so modest and who doesn't show any great interest in anything. Mr. Bovary doesn't realize that his young wife doesn't feel a great deal of love for him. He is convinced that his wife is kind and he loves her deeply. Unfortunately, Charles is not able to offer his wife the life she so dearly desires. Therefore, the couple decides to move out to a large borough called Yonville-L'Abbaye, where the doctor has just been the week before, since Emma can no longer bear life in the miserable village of Tostes. It's in Yonville-L'Abbaye that Emma Bovary will wreak havoc with the villagers. They consider her to be a true woman of the world. She is elegant, beautiful, educated, and accustomed to all the bourgeois niceties. Thanks to her husband's income, she is able to buy practically everything she wants. Her husband doesn't understand her attitudes, but since he is so proud of her he easily forgives her for all of her petty extravagances. This is how, little by little, Emma succeeds in domesticating and making a fool of her husband through numerous tricks. From time to time, she feigns a slight nervous depression so that her husband will fall into a panic over her condition, have pity on her, and give into her whims. Now the day Emma meets Leon, Madame Bovary's life will take a radical turn. She will enjoy the pleasures of this dangerous liason and all the exquisite secrets it provides for her. Emma's life is like a fairytale until the day when everything suddenly seems to turn catastrophic.