Emma Bovary Free Essay

The paper seeks to contrast and compare two characters Hedda Tesman and Emma Bovary. Hedda Tesman whose last name before marriage was Gabler is one of the most prominent characters of the play written by dramatist Henric Ibsen. It depicts the society of those days in detail, particularly, the differences between the social classes.

In the play, Hedda is depicted as a very selfish cynical woman. The rebellion of Hedda Gabler is directed against society and its rules. Therefore, she rejects when Brack, Tesman’s friend, asks Hedda to curb expenses because it is not easy for her husband Jürgen to get the professorship. She even demands from Tesman expensive things such as a servant and a horse, but he cannot afford them. Furthermore, Hedda does not consider herself to be a part of Tesman’s family (Mangang). Thus, she sees marrying Jürgen as a chance to gain profit.

Hedda dreams of a better life and entertainment and wants to use Tesman who can make her dreams come true. She intensely hates pregnancy and other duties of a common wife as she does not want to sacrifice her personal pleasures. Hedda’s life is dull and boring, therefore, she constantly pursues sensations and experiments in others. The extent of her egotism is expressed in her hatred of pregnancy and mortal disease. Depressed and rebellious, Hedda does everything on impulse. For instance, she disgraces Aunt Julle with the story about the hat (Mangang). Then, her whim was to force Tesman to buy an extremely expensive house before their marriage. Nevertheless, Hedda is not pleased with being that impulsive, so she becomes even dangerous. She hates everyone who can afford and implement all their wishes, which is impossible for her. Thus, she starts to manipulate others aiming to destroy their lives. This is evident when she incites Lovborg, Tesman’s biggest competitor, to visit the party. She acts in such a way because she is envious of Mrs. Elvsted’s control over Lovborg. As Lovborg comes back from the party disappointed because of his lost manuscript, Hedda presents him with one of her father’s pistols and manipulates him into committing suicide. In fact, Hedda’s violence and destructiveness originates from her childhood.She is a kind of woman who cannot find her own self. Searching for it, she ends up committing suicide (Mangang).

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Emma Bovary is another unhappily married young woman who strives for entertainment through having affairs with other men. Emma rebelliously opposes the established bourgeois concepts. She goes on a buying spree, which causes a great number of debts and ruins the family budget (Siddika). Furthermore, Emma suffers from patriarchy, in which her possibilities are extremely limited.

Generally, Emma is a selfish, destructive person who commits suicide for absolutely egoistic unjustified reasons. As an intelligent woman with the advantage of being educated, Emma is neither a victim of her society, nor is she a bad person. Madame Bovary acts as a negligent, unreliable, and self-centered wife. She hides her internal destructiveness behind her appearance decorated with expensive and luxury goods from L’heureux (Siddika). She is intolerant of her mother-in-law. Striving for the perfect life, she sees her husband Charles as a clumsy man. Emma Bovary negates the ideal of a woman of her times; she lives in the world of dreams. She craves for an unreal luxurious and romantic life, traveling, reading novels, music, and opera. She is constantly thinking about stories of love and lovers that are disapproved by others. However, Emma has a traditional marriage ceremony instead of a romantic midnight wedding.

Emma is a selfish, neglectful person who destroys her life herself (Plemmons). In the course of the novel, she becomes extremely destructive and mean. For example, in the last part of the novel, Emma gets power of the attorney due to Charles’s trustfulness. This makes all the money and estate accessible to Emma so that she can satisfy all her caprices. Emma seems to Charles thoughtful and obliging, though her motives are absolutely egoistic, for example, the three days she spends with Leon. Though Emma tries to seem interested in Charles, to be a good wife, she does this only for herself. Emma is bored when their love with Rodolphe goes out; therefore, she decides to try to love Charles. However, he does not attract her as much as men from romance novels. Emma’s motives are clearly selfish because she desires to become famous thanks to her husband’s reputation and success (Plemmons).

In conclusion, it is obvious that fates and characters of Hedda and Emma are similar. Thus, both women are selfish and rebellious, which is revealed in the way they live their lives. Hedda betrays her husband Jurgen, as well as Emma cheats on her husband Charles and neglects him. The two women live in their imaginary world. Hedda desires to belong to high society and have fun; Emma dreams of romantic men and great love. Madam Bovary is neglectful of her child, while Hedda resents pregnancy at all. Needless to say that both Emma and Hedda do not deserve sympathy. Nevertheless, I feel more sympathetic to Emma Bovary. At least, she tried to love her husband, even forced herself. Furthermore, she tried to solve the problem of her debts. In fact, the readers do not tend to feel sorry for Emma’s fate, because she destroyed her life herself. At the same time, she could not cancel the decision about marriage, which turned her life into a nightmare.


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