How does unfettered subjectivity create the modern conception of tragedy?
One of the most dominant themes in Madame Bovary is the appropriation of the world in accordance to one's own subjectivity. Flaubert shows how modern consciousness is defined through one's own notion of reality and the failure of the modern setting lies in the individual seeking to make this vision a reality. Emma appropriates her world through Romantic notions of the good. This becomes the frame through which she interacts with her world, and the basis of her dreams. This subjectivity becomes her own prison as she becomes crushed by the weight of her own dreams. In his own subjective vision of Emma, Charles suffers the same fate. The ultimate price paid for this desire to appropriate the world in accordance to one's own subjective consciousness is Berthe.
Flaubert was keen in bringing out this Realist condition of reality. Emma becomes crushed by the weight of her own dreams, demonstrating the destructive nature of subjective appropriation of the world. In contrast to the Romantic thinkers, who saw the world as a playground in which one's subjectivity should be unleashed, Flaubert's genius is to illuminate the dark side to this vision. In the end, one recognizes that subjectivity, a realistic condition of the modern setting, has to be limited and tapered in accordance to a variety of circumstances and conditions. Failure to do so can result in personal destruction and the destruction of others around the individual.