Rodolphe Boulanger

Rodolphe is portrayed as a typical ladies’ man. We mean, he was so handsome, discerning, selfish and manipulative that he can easily can each woman he wants. Also, a very helpful thing for that is his money, as he is extremely rich.

He is Emma’s first lover who lives not far from Yonville. The only thing he is capable of doing in his life is getting scores for each woman who gets to his bed. He sees Emma no more than another conquest that he has to win. He quickly understands what Emma lacks, and how to conquer her. Rodolphe carefully plots his seduction of Emma, speaking false words of romance and love, satiating himself, and finally abandoning her on the day of their planned elopement, never having planned to follow through with his promises. After he begins an affair with her, he then abandons her when becomes bored of her romantic fancies and emotional demands. No real man can live in these romantics for long but if he does; he is insane or wants just sex from a woman.

Rodolphe is a very recognizable stock character – he’s a skilled Casanova, whose only goal in life is to woo women. After getting in relationships with Emma, he immediately gets to know a plan how to leave her when he gets bored. Isn’t it cynical and crazy? But that is what Casanovas do. At the beginning of those relationships, he knows that they will not continue for long. The worst thing about it is to see how hard she falls in love with him. Just imagine, he is everything she ever wanted and imagined. He is rich, handsome, smooth, and apparently sensitive (or at least, she thinks he is). That is why it is completely sad to see what will happen to her after their break up.

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Rodolphe Boulanger in the Essays