Madame Bovary

Why does Emma try to be a "good wife" and does she succeed?

is she a good wife

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Though Emma is fully capable of being a good wife and responsible mother on the outside, she just refuses to acknowledge that that’s all her life is destined to be. She genuinely feels as though her marriage with Charles is what ruined her entire life, and blames him for ever coming along and marrying her. She periodically settles down and attempts (often with adequate results) to be docile and domestic, but it never really catches hold – she always drifts off and wonders what other directions her life could go in.

What really disturbs Emma about married life is how consistent it is – which proves that she could never have been happy, regardless of who she married, or where she lived. The constant sense of intrigue and excitement she longs for is difficult to sustain in any walk of life, but she’s sure that it’s marriage that’s keeping her down. The baby, Berthe, makes matters even worse – Emma feels even more pressured and entrapped by the child, and has difficulty mustering up even the slightest smidgeon of genuine affection for the poor kid.