Madame Bovary

Emma Bovery fantasy and reality

Emma Bovery has difficulty ditinguishing between fantasy and reality. Can anyone help me trace the ways this leads to her tragic downfall?

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The best short answer for this question can be found in gradesaver's character analysis;

Emma Bovary

Madame Bovary, the novel's protagonist. Educated in a convent and raised in the country, Emma marries Charles Bovary at a young age. Throughout her life, Emma dreams of a more romantic, sophisticated, and passionate life, often lapsing into extreme boredom and depression. Emma has a daughter, Berthe, but does not have any maternal instincts and leaves the child to be raised by the house help. An occasional sense of guilt or memories of her simple childhood and kind father cause Emma, rarely, to re-evaluate her life. Emma grows religious and resolves to become a better wife and mother, but these stages too are generally brief. Her deep desire for passion and extravagance lead Emma into adultery. She has affairs with both Rodolphe and Leon and thus develops massive debts against her husband's property. When she realizes she cannot escape her dishonesty and financial problems, Emma commits suicide; she prefers death over coming to terms with how she chose to live her life.