Charles throws himself on Emma’s corpse, overcome by grief. Homais goes home, invents a story about accidental poisoning to cover up the suicide, and writes it up for the newspaper.
When he returns to the Bovarys’ house, he finds Charles alone and frightened, Canivet having left him.
Homais, with the best of intentions, attempts to distract Charles by talking about the weather.
Father Bournisien succeeds in getting Charles to do something about the funeral. He makes extravagantly romantic plans – ones that Emma herself would have appreciated.
Charles rebels against God; he curses the heavens for allowing this to happen.
The priest and the pharmacist sit up with the corpse all night, holding a vigil for her. The whole time, they argue about religion.
Charles’s mother arrives in the morning. She attempts to reason with Charles about the expense of the funeral, and he actually stands up to her for the first time.
The townspeople come to visit and pay their respects; they’re bored, but each is unwilling to be the first to leave.
Félicité is hysterical with grief. She, Madame Lefrançois, and old Madame Bovary dress Emma in her wedding gown to prepare her for her coffin. Grotesquely, a stream of black liquid flows out of the dead woman’s mouth as they lift her.
Homais and Bournisien continue their intellectual discussion.
Charles comes in to say his final good bye in private. He reflects upon his memories of their past together, looks at her dead face, and is horrified.
The priest and pharmacist lead him away. Homais shakily cuts a few locks of Emma’s hair for Charles to keep.
Félicité thoughtfully leaves a bottle of brandy and a pastry out for the men – Homais and Father Bournisien need no prompting to drink the alcohol. They part ways after finishing the bottle.
Finally, after Emma’s body is sealed inside three coffins, her father arrives. He faints immediately.