A Simple Heart


Gustave Flaubert

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A wealthy gentleman who pursues young Félicité after a village dance. Though Félicité is initially cautious about the relationship, she eventually falls in love with him, and he soon proposes to her. Though the narration describes Théodore as self-serving and cowardly, Félicité does not recognize any flaws in his character until he reveals that his parents paid off another man to enter the military in his place. Fearful that his scheme will be discovered, he avoids conscription again by marrying a wealthy widow, abandoning Félicité in the process. Félicité is so distraught by his sudden departure that she leaves town in search of a new life.

Théodore Quotes in A Simple Heart

The A Simple Heart quotes below are all either spoken by Théodore or refer to Théodore . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of A Simple Heart published in 2005.
Chapter 2 Quotes

He then announced something rather disturbing: a year ago his parents had paid for someone else to do his military service but he might still be called up at any time. The prospect of serving in the army terrified him. Félicité took this cowardice as a sign of his affection for her and it made her love him all the more.

Related Characters: Félicité Barette, Théodore
Page Number: 6-7
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

As she came to the top of the hill at Ecquemauville, she saw the lights of Honfleur twinkling in the night like clusters of stars and, beyond them, the sea, stretching dimly into the distance. She was suddenly overcome with a fit of giddiness and her wretched childhood, the disappointment of her first love affair, the departure of her nephew and the death of Virginie all came flooding back to her like the waves of an incoming tide, welling up inside her and taking her breath away.

Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
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A Simple Heart PDF

Théodore Character Timeline in A Simple Heart

The timeline below shows where the character Théodore appears in A Simple Heart. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
...and is well-liked by her employers. After Félicité turns eighteen, she meets a man named Théodore at a village dance. Théodore determinedly courts her after their initial meeting, and though Félicité... (full context)
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Cruelty vs Compassion  Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
Not long after the marriage proposal, Théodore reveals that his parents paid someone to serve in the military in his place, and... (full context)
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
Félicité finds that she is soon able to recover from the pain of Théodore’s betrayal by settling into her duties at the Aubain household. She easily develops a strong... (full context)