In Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary the heroine Emma Bovary commits suicide in the end after going broke and being rejected by her lovers. Years after that, her husband Charles meets Rudolphe, one of her lovers, but Charles does not blame him for her death, but “fate.” By definition, fate is the development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power and leading thus to the inescapable death of a person. In order to determine whether or not fate is to blame, one has to consider the events that led to Emma’s death and if they are based on her own decisions:
Emma’s first free willingly decision that leads to her death was to marry the doctor Charles Bovary but he bores her because he cannot satisfy her image of an ideal marriage, which she could not have predicted in the first place. Emma’s interest in romantic fiction, which she actually comes across during her education in the convent after her mother’s death, even enhances her unhappiness with Charles. As a consequence, Emma starts to buy things for the house to compensate for her unhappiness and makes her second decision to borrow money from the pharmacist Lheureux without telling Charles. However, Charles eventually finds it out but he does not do anything about it because he wants his wife to be happy. Charles even constantly leaves Emma alone with Léon and eventually they fall in love with each other but Emma does not want to have an affair with him in the first place. After Léon leaves the city, Emma meets Rudolphe, and Charles leaves her again alone with a man which eventually leads to her third choice to have Rudolphe as her first lover. Nevertheless, Rudolphe makes the decision to abandon Emma because she wanted to run away with him. Coincidently, she meets Léon again and starts to have an affair with him. Unfortunately, Lheureux makes the decision to finally let Emma pay back her debts, which she is not able to and asks Rudolphe for help, who is a gambler and can therefore not give her the money. Even Léon is not able to give her the money because he fears to lose his good reputation. Emma’s last decision was to commit suicide, which does not come as a surprise because she shows suicidal traits throughout the novel and shows therefore mental health problems. In addition to that, she neglects her daughter because she thinks she is ugly and lets her maid basically raise her.