by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Lowell Bair's translation.
She was in love with Léon, and she sought solitude because it allowed her to revel in thoughts of him at leisure. His actual presence disturbed the voluptuous pleasure of her reveries. Her heart palpitated at the sound of his footsteps, but her agitation always began to subside as soon as he appeared, and she was left with nothing but deep astonishment which eventually turned to sadness. (II.5.42)
Emma seems to be more in love with the idea of love than with Léon himself – she enjoys thinking about him, but not seeing him.
"Poor woman! She’s gasping for love like a carp gasping for water on a kitchen table. A few sweet words and she’d adore me, I’m sure of it! She’d be affectionate, charming […] Yes, but how could I get rid of her later?" (II.7.36)
Rodolphe, a masterful manipulator of feelings, recognizes the symptoms of a romantic disposition in Emma, and understands her immediately. His view of love is not as idealistic has hers; instead, he cynically realizes from the beginning that their affair has a very limited lifespan.
She repeated to herself, "I have a lover! I have a lover!" and the thought gave her a delicious thrill, as though she were beginning a second puberty. At last she was going to possess the joys of love, that fever of happiness she had despaired of ever knowing. She was entering a marvelous realm in which everything would be passion, ecstasy and rapture… (II.9.58)
As Rodolphe’s new mistress, Emma finally feels like all of the right circumstances have fallen into place (drama, passion, wealth) – she’s ready to experience love for the first time.