by Gustave Flaubert
Monsieur Lheureux is the closest thing we get to a truly evil creature. He is remorseless and cunning; he knows all along that he will drive Emma to financial ruin, and furthermore, he does it on purpose. When first we meet him, we learn that he has already driven another unfortunate citizen out of business and out of town (Madame Lefrançois’s rival, the tavern keeper), and clearly, he has no qualms about doing the same to Emma. He even has the gall to show up at her funeral and look sad, even while he’s pumping Charles for more cash. Lheureux shows us depths of depravity to which people can sink in the pursuit of money.