Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert Character Analysis Rodolphe

Rodolphe is the only person in the novel who understands Emma. He is basically a shrewd and cynical bachelor who has spent his time studying the psychology of women with the sole purpose of seducing them. When he first met Emma, he knew immediately that she was bored with her husband and was ready for a love affair. He met her often enough to get her excited with his straight, direct declarations of love. He knew that she wanted to hear fanciful, exaggerated things, and he accommodated her. Then he disappears for six weeks so as to let Emma worry and fret. When he reappears, it is no trouble to carry out the seduction.

But Rodolphe is not interested in any affair for very long. He is interested only in his own sensual enjoyment and his only worry is how to break off his love affairs after he tires of them. His attraction toward Emma is founded only on her good looks and her sensuous appeal. Thus, he has no qualms about seducing her and later abandoning her. He is even able to rationalize his motives so well that he feels no guilt about the episode. Upon learning of Emma's death, he has no feelings one way or another. He is, therefore, the unemotional, sensuous individual concerned only with his own pleasures.

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