What is Madame Bovary's first name?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Emma Bovary is the first name of Madame Bovary.  Emma, Flaubert's heroine, is a product of Romanticism taken to an unhealthy degree.  She is a character who is animated by the spirit of her dreams, only to be crushed by their weight.  She can never seem to find any level of happiness because her belief is that what is presented in books and art, in terms of a life where dreams are fulfilled and eternal happiness is always present, should materialize in daily consciousness.  This causes a sense of disenchantment to pervade in all aspects of her existence.  Emma is a character for whom one can feel a certain amount of anger and frustration, for her actions are not very likable.  Yet, she retains a quality of empathy and a sense of pathetic sadness because within her own animation, we begin to see a part of ourselves.  The term "bovarysm" means a state of perpetual unhappiness caused by the conceited and romantic conception of one's own importance.  Emma inspires this as the reader sees much of it in Flaubert's work.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial