Destiny vs. Fate. Refers to Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary

Essay by IndigoCollege, Undergraduate December 1996

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Destiny: the seemingly inevitable succession of events.1

Is this definition true, or do we, as people in real life or characters in novels,

control our own destiny? Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary exemplifies how we hold destiny in our

own hands, molding it with the actions we take and the choices we make. Flaubert uses Emma Bovary,

the main character of his novel, to demonstrate this. Throughout her life, Emma makes many

decisions, each one of them affecting her fate and by analyzing these decisions one could see

from the beginning that Emma is destined to suffer. However, one can also pinpoint such decisions

making events as her marriage, her daughter's birth, her adulterous relationship with Leon and her

taking the poison, as times when, if she had made a different decision, her life would not have

ended as tragically.

When we first meet Emma, the future Madame Bovary, we perceive her as being a woman who is

refined perhaps a bit more than the average peasant girl living on a farm.

We conclude this

because she attended a boarding school where she was taught "dancing, geography, needlework and

piano." (p.15) Charles, on the other hand, gives her more credit than she deserves. He regards

her as well very educated, sophisticated, sensitive and loving, with the last characteristic

being the one she lacks most. Soon after Emma marries Charles we see her unhappiness, and we are

faced with a dilemma, why did she marry him? There are numerous possible answers to this, but

the end conclusion is the same: if she had not married him it would have been better for both of

them. Emma would not have been so miserable and depressed throughout her life and Charles would

have found someone who would return his love and who would...