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.
[Rodolphe] made her into something compliant and corrupt. She remained under the influence of a kind of idiotic infatuation, full of admiration for him and sensuality for herself, a blissful torpor; and her soul, sinking into that intoxication, shriveled and drowned like the Duke of Clarence in his butt of malmsey. (II.12.23)
This description of Emma’s love for Rodolphe is pretty repellent. Their love is not a respectful, beautiful mutual thing; instead, he treats her like an animal, and she, totally intoxicated by him, allows herself to be manipulated.
But disparaging those we love always detaches us from them to some extent. It is better not to touch our idols: the gilt comes off on our hands. (III.6.23)
Here, Flaubert touches upon a sad truth; once we start to pick out the flaws in the ones we love, they often lose their magic, and things start to fall apart.
[Léon] resented her continuous victory over him. He even tried to force himself to stop loving her, but as soon as he heard her footsteps he would feel helplessly weak, like a drunkard at the sight of liquor. (III.6.25)
Now Léon is the one in intoxicated thrall to his lover. Just as Emma was powerless in her relationship with Rodolphe, so too is Léon here. He’s addicted to Emma, despite his longing to escape from her.