An Analysis of Homais as an instrument of satire in Flauberts, 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.…show more content…
The heated discussion briefly ceases when Charles enters the room, and then resumes once he has left. Homais’ dispute over the use of prayer not only reaffirms his agnostic beliefs but also reflects his open contempt for the church and its institutions. Furthermore, his apparent eagerness to win the debate overrides his respect for the deceased, and further underscores his selfish and indifferent values. As a representative of the bourgeois, Homais is depicted as morally offensive and shallow. In fact, the very image of him arguing ideologies over the deceased body of Emma is offensive in itself. “Flaubert creatively uses this incident to highlight the ideological and religious decay of French middle class society and also to ridicule the optimism and enthusiasm for scientific progress and enlightenment which were so marked a feature of mid-19th century France” (Thody 576). Homais’ indifference and superficial knowledge are cleverly highlighted in the incident with Hippolyte. In the novel, he is constantly rambling on about revolutionary medical procedures he knows nothing about. This more often then not leads him into trouble. For example, in his aspirations for fame and prestige Homais manipulatively convinces Hippolyte to have a surgery he doesn’t need in an attempt to fix his clubfoot. He

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