I just finished this story about corruption, misery, endless ambitions and impossible pursuits that is Madame Bovary.
If there's something I'll never conceive as right is adultery, above all things; but I have to confess I could understand Emma when she felt trapped in a monotonous relationship and the desperation she felt thinking about all the things that were out there to be seen and experienced. I too have been filling my brain with romantic novels with dashing heroes and intrepid heroines (you have only to look at my books to prove it) so how could I remain indifferent to Emma's frustrations? What I do not share with her are the measures (always desperate) she took to escape from her boredom. What angered me was Emma's inexistent attempts to love, or at least, to appreciate her husband for who he really was, a tender man who loved her most profusely and who, like he said by Emma's deathbed "did everything he could"
The cause of Emma's marital anguish also resided in the fact that Charles neglected her sometimes, but it didn't justify her actions either.
When it comes to her lovers, I did believe that Emma could have been happy with Léon, and I sort of wanted them to be together. They had the same romantic nature and similar ambitions and Léon loved little Berthe! Rodolphe, on the contrary, was the typical coward dandy with no feelings, a true rat, that contributed to Emma's corruption and bad habits. It was he who induced her into the affair, it was he who made her mad and evil and who led her into a destructive behaviour that she would keep repeating with Léon when she encountered him. I think if it wasn't for Rodolphe's malice Emma would have conducted a more mature and healthy relation with Léon.
In regards to the end, the only one who inspired pity was poor little Berthe. She was the true victim of her mother's lack of interest and her father's later abandonment. A character that disappointed me was Monsieur Homais. He was supposed to be Berthe's godfather but when Charles and the child where in poverty, he stopped visiting them and turned to be a selfish man absorbed by his snobbish ways and personal ambitions.
A very good story, worthy of its controversy.