Madame Bovary

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Madame Bovary Characters

Emma Bovary

A beautiful, mediocre woman consumed by the desire to live an elegant and passionate life. Emma’s placid country childhood sharpens her appetite for passionate feeling and excitement. Her only idea of a life other… (read full character analysis)

Charles Bovary

Emma’s husband, a kind and peaceful country doctor whose main joys in life are his wife, his daughter, and a hearty meal. After an unhappy marriage to Mamade Dubuc, Charles is overjoyed to… (read full character analysis)

Rodolphe Boulanger

A free-spirited, relatively wealthy landowner and womanizer. Emma falls for him because of his stylish green coat and his title, and he desires her because she seems like an easy conquest, and because she is… (read full character analysis)

Léon Dupuis

Emma’s second lover. When Emma first meets Léon, he is a bored, ambitious clerk who loves to talk vaguely with her about music and literature. He works for the lawyer Guillaumin, and… (read full character analysis)

Monsieur Homais

Yonville’s pharmacist, an ambitious, deceitful, sugar-tongued man who befriends the Bovarys when they’re new to town. Homais loves talking about rationality and progress, and he loves berating priests and religion. He has a large, prosperous… (read full character analysis)
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Monsieur Lheureux

Yonville’s versatile merchant, who slowly and deliberately drives the Bovarys to financial ruin. Lheureux affects a pleasant air, but he is a ruthless businessman. He makes money by encouraging people like Emma to spend more… (read full character analysis)

The elder Madame Bovary

Charles’s mother, a nervous, demanding woman exhausted by years of unhappy marriage. She craves Charles’s affection, and resents sharing it with his wife. She often quarrels with Emma. Charles wants to please both… (read full character analysis)

Berthe Bovary

Emma and Charles’s daughter, a sweet, affectionate toddler. Emma generally ignores her or treats her cruelly, though the little girl obviously wants her attention very badly. Charles adores her, plays with her, and tries… (read full character analysis)

Monsieur Rouault

Emma’s father, a nice, lonely man. His wife passed away when Emma was a child, and Emma is his one joy and consolation. He lives quite far from Yonville and does not often get… (read full character analysis)


The stableman at the Golden Lion, a quiet, hardworking man afflicted with clubfoot. Homais convinces him to undergo an experimental operation, because he thinks the operation would bring prestige to Yonville and to himself. The… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Monsieur Binet
Yonville’s tax collector and amateur lathe-spinner. Binet is a quiet, unsociable man who dines regularly at the Golden Lion and spends all his free time happily working at his lathe. Emma propositions him for money, but he refuses.
Homais’s teenaged assistant, who falls in love with Emma in the second half of the book. Emma tricks Justin into leading her to the arsenic in Homais’s laboratory, and Justin is tormented by guilt when he learns of her death.
The Viscount
A mysterious, elegant man who dances with Emma at the ball. She knows nothing about him, but in her mind he represents a romantic ideal.
The Beggar
A mentally ill man with infected eyelids, who follows the evening coach begging for money and singing a song about young love.
Abbé Bournisien
Yonville’s priest.
Monsieur Guillaumin
Yonville’s resident lawyer, Lheureux’s sometime accomplice, and Léon’s first employer.
Emma’s young maid, who steals all her clothes after she dies.
Héloïse Dubuc
Charles’s first wife.
Catherine Leroux
An old farmer who receives a lifetime achievement award at the agricultural fair.
Monsieur Canivet
– A famous doctor who amputates Hippolyte’s leg after Charles’s botched operation.
A famous singer. Emma and Charles attend his performance in Rouen.
Irma, Napoléon, and Athalie
The Homais children.
Mère Rolet
The wet nurse for Emma's daughter, Berthe.
Madame Lefrançois
The widowed innkeeper in the town of Yonville-l’Abbaye, where the Bovarys live.
Emma's maid.
Marquis d’Andervilliers
The nobleman who gives the ball to which Charles and Emma are invited, and which fuels Emma's passion for luxury and romance.