â€˜Care of the Selfâ€™: A Foucauldian Perspective of Emma Bovary
Michel Foucault is a great French philosopher and historian of thought. Foucaultâ€™s theories are often considered as â€˜defence techniqueâ€™ for individualâ€™s deeds rather than an initiative to advocate and propagate thoughts. Foucaultâ€™s theories of â€˜care of the selfâ€™, â€˜powerâ€™ and â€˜sovereigntyâ€™ are applicable to Emma the protagonist of Gustave Flaubertâ€™s Madame Bovary. His works are a milestone in contemporary thought especially because their aim is to undermine the single voice attribute of binary discourse. His views on â€˜hermeneutics of the subjectâ€™, especially on exercise of â€˜powerâ€™, seem to conform exactly to the character Emma Bovary. Flaubertâ€™s Emma implements her sovereign power within herself. She develops a relationship within herself and lives the life of the characters that enticed her.She seeks self-assertion, acknowledgement and discovers her embodied self. Her existence is not a matter of being, but a matter of becoming. Her journey is not about discovering a fixed essence, on the contrary it is about understanding that the â€˜selfâ€™ is a fluid entity which emerges out of a dynamic process, within a certain time and space, with a diversity of possibilities. The essence of Foucaultâ€™s theory could be recognized and discerned in Flaubertâ€™s protagonist Emma.