by Gustave Flaubert
Character Role Analysis
Poor Charles. He certainly never meant to antagonize anyone, especially not Emma. However, try though he might to just get along with everyone, he still drives her craaaaazy. Without even knowing it, he becomes Emma’s greatest enemy; she blames him for pretty much everything, including even meeting her. Charles’s doglike affection just serves to increase Emma’s animosity, and it’s as though the more he loves her, the more she despises him. In her eyes, he is the embodiment of all that’s dull, commonplace, and confining about small-town life – and furthermore, it’s his fault that she’s stuck there.
Homais basically antagonizes everyone in the town, including Charles and Emma (though they don’t know it). His self-serving actions often entail negative consequences for everyone else, and he simply doesn’t care – he just wants to get his way. He ran the previous doctor out of town, and after Charles, he does the same to the new doctors who try to set up practices in Yonville. With Charles, Homais simply tolerates his presence because he must – threatened with legal action, he has to keep the new doctor on his side. He manages to do this by playing the conscientious neighbor act, but his true colors emerge when he ditches Emma’s deathbed to play host to the two big shot doctors, Canivet and Larivière.