An Analysis of Homais as an Instrument of Satire in Flaubert's, Madame Bovary

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An analysis of Homais as an instrument of satire
In Flaubert's satiric novel, the story's apothecary is used to convey Flaubert's views of the bourgeois. As a vehicle for Flaubert's satire, Homais is portrayed as opportunistic and self-serving, attributes that Flaubert associated with the middle class. Homais' obsession with social mobility leads him to commit despicable acts. His character and values are also detestable. He is self-serving, hypocritical, opportunistic, egotistical, and crooked. All these negative characteristics are used by Flaubert to represent and satirize specific aspects of middle class society. More specific issues that are addressed include Homais' superficial knowledge, religious hypocrisy, and pretentiousness.
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Afterwards, Homais is forced to listen to the reproaches of the doctor for devising the operation. "Homais was suffering as he listened to this sermon, and he hid his discomfort behind a courtier's smile, needing to appease Monsieur Carnivet, whose prescriptions sometimes came as far as Yonville" (Bovary 169). The doctor reprimands Homais for attempting to fix a situation that was perfectly well. Hippolyte was obviously better off before the surgery. In this incident, Homais selfishly sacrifices his dignity in order to protect the more serious interests of his business. He abides the insults and swallows his pride in order to appease the doctor. Afterwards, to comfort his conscience, he relishes all blame and displaces the fault on Charles' inadequacy as a doctor. Clearly, Homais' interests lies with protecting himself and not the well being of Hippolyte, whom he has ruined.
In a similar incident, Homais attempts to cure the sight of a blind beggar. In an act of blind confidence and pretentiousness he assures the blind beggar that he can restore his sight, "the apothecary guaranteed that he would cure the man himself, with an antiphlogiston ointment of his own creation, and he gave his address" (Bovary 280). However, like the incident with Hippolyte, Homais utterly fails and only succeeds in aggravating the beggar's condition. To hide his failure this time, Homais embarks on a campaign to rid Yonville of the
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