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

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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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Homais does succeed, however, in silencing the beggar. Through his efforts, the beggar is condemned to an asylum. "The success emboldened him" (Bovary 322). Through this incident, Flaubert ridicules the bourgeois' blind confidence in pseudo-intellectual science and progress. Furthermore, the incident provides another example of Homais' crafty and conniving character. Once again, we see that Homais' interests lies with protecting himself and not his patients.
Flaubert also uses Homais to criticize the superficiality and pride of the bourgeois class. In a testament to his anti-clericalism and vanity, Homais engages in another argument with the priest over the morality of going to the theatre and reading literature such as Voltaire. The priest declares that the both bad literature and the theatre engender "a certain libertine mood, inspires unclean thoughts, and impure longings." In response, Homais delivers a cheap shot by admitting to know "priests who dress up in ordinary clothes to go and watch dancing-girls wiggling about." After the priest leaves dejected and defeated, Homais turns to Charles and declares, "Now that's what I call an rumpus!" (Bovary 203). Flaubert ridicules the bourgeois' preoccupation with life's most trivial matters. Homais' pride and shallow determination to win causes him to disgrace the priest, a classic example of the ruthless attitude that Flaubert so vehemently detested.
His overly ambitious attitude becomes apparent towards the end of