- Charles Bovary, a good citizen and kindhearted doctor, marries Emma Rouault, the daughter of a patient. Emma becomes disillusioned with married life and starts to think of Charles as clumsy and boring. Having a daughter gives her no joy. She dreams of more, spends money she doesn't have, and has affairs with two men, both of which leave her heartbroken. She tries religion, but that doesn't help. In the end Emma's despair has disastrous consequences for herself, Charles, and their daughter.