Death in Hedda Gabler and Madame Bovary Essays

1187 Words 5 Pages
Throughout Hedda Gabler and Madame Bovary death is a common motif. The use of unnatural death by Henrik Ibsen and Gustave Flaubert allows the authors to breakdown the main characters and reveal their true personalities. The deaths of Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary and the death of Hedda Gabler and Ejlert Lovborg in Hedda Gabler are the climax allowing the reader to learn about the characters in the text.
Emma, or Madame Bovary, died after taking poison given to her by an admirer. Her lifestyle had forced her into debt, as well as adultery, Emma felt that her only escape from her self-proclaimed “boring life” was suicide.
“Her situation now appeared before her like an abyss. She was panting as though her lungs would burst…She stopped in
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Homais was benefited by Madame Bovary’s death. He became the leading doctor in Y’onville after Charles died from the pain of his wife’s death.
“Since Bovary’s death, three different doctors have tried to establish themselves in Y’onville, but they all have been driven away by Monsieur Homais’ vehement attacks. He now has more patients than the devil himself could handle, the authorities treat him with deference and public opinion supports him.
He has just been awarded the cross of the Legion of Honor.”
(Flaubert 302)

Unnatural death is also apparent in Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. Ibsen not only killed off Hedda Gabler, the main character, but removed Ejlert Lovborg, a minor character, to serve purpose for Hedda’s death. When Hedda Gabler gives an old love one of her prized pistols she inclines him to consider suicide, and if he were to, be honorable when going about it.

“HEDDA. No, Wait! I want to give you something to remember me by.
[She goes to the desk and opens the drawer, and takes out the pistol case. Then she comes back to LOVBORG with one of the pistols.]
LOVBORG[Looks at her]. That! Is that what you want me to have?
HEDDA[nods slowly]. Do you recognize it? It was aimed at you, once.
LOVBORG. You should have used it then.
HEDDA. Well…! You use it now.
LOVBORG[sticking the pistol in his breast pocket]. Thank you.
HEDDA. And beautifully, Ejlert Lovborg. Promise me that!
LOVBORG. Goodbye, Hedda Gabler.”

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