This essay will explore the role of historical progress in the ideas of Prussian-German philosopher Karl Marx

(1818-1883) and the French writer Gustav Flaubert(1821-1880).Marx was a thinker who sought to change the world and address the issue of inequality in the society while Flaubert recognized inequality but thought that it could not be eliminated from the world and instead we should choose to focus on our energies on achieving aesthetic perfection by using the contradictions present in the world to produce great works of art. Widely considered to be an Enlightenment thinker, Marx was interested in using rationality and reason to understand Modernity and its historical relevance. He borrowed the Hegelian idea of the history being rational. Using the Hegelian dialectic model, Marx knew that history was where one must turn to in order to uncover the truth. Hegel's dialectic processes revealed that all history revolves follows this pattern of a Thesis, facing off against its Antithesis, and the conflict between them gives a result which is called Synthesis. It is important to note that this Synthesis stage is not necessarily a compromise, but it is a change that carries with it the residue of previous conflict. This idea of conflict is critical to Marx's view on society, politics, and capitalism, as he begins to critique Modernity through the lens of economic injustice. Marx is famously quoted as saying that, "The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles." which shows the paramount role of history in his philosophy. His earlier work, Estranged Labour(1844), extensively documents the escalated production of commodities and the commoditization of the working class in a vicious cycle: "The devaluation of the world of men is in direct proportion to the increasing value of the world of things. Labour produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity." Marx is hopeful that this conflict between Bourgeoisie and Proletariat would lead to the elimination of inequality through the dialectic. However the revolutions of 1848,which Marx terms as the “ugly revolution”, leaves Marx completely disillusioned and leads him to consider economic laws rather than history as the ‘really real’. In contrast, Flaubert is not concerned with eliminating inequality from the world. He recognizes inequality but sees it as an in-built feature of this world rather than something to be removed. He rejects history for art and aesthetics. Flaubert perceives the Enlightenment and Romanticism as two extreme ends of the spectrum. His contempt for reason and enlightenment can be seen in these lines: "What speeches! . . . Nothing could make me more scornful of success, considering the price at which it is purchased. I sat unmoved [and] nauseated. . ." He advocates art, aesthetics, and literature, and his strenuous efforts reflect pride in his literary work. His masterpiece, Madame Bovary(1856), took five years to complete and is recognized for his perfectionist prose and narration. The fictional novel accounts the lives of Charles and Emma Bovary, in what many consider a "commentary on the entire self-satisfied, deluded, bourgeois culture of Flaubert's time period." This belief is consistent with Flaubert's remark in a letter to George Sand, "What is the best form in which to express one's opinion[?] . . . It seems to me the best way is to depict things that exasperate you. Dissection is revenge." Madame Bovary is a sharp critique of Romanticism too as the main character Emma Bovary is shown to be a romantic who sought to escape from reality by having affairs with various men to quench her boredom but reality caught up with her in the end and she committed suicide.

. no matter which provided it be lofty and have solid foundation. This desire of perfection and its central role in his ideas can be seen through the following letter of his: “To have talent. and to keep your conscience pure you must set it above everyone else’s. He is concerned about expressing things as they are rather than in some romantic notions but doing so in perfect artistic form.” Flaubert’s ambition is not to change the world but accept the contradictions present in it and use them as a means to produce perfect art which gives rise to this idea of Art for Art’s sake. economic laws for Marx and Art for Flaubert. In conclusion. you must be convinced that you possess it.The ‘really real’ for Flaubert is aesthetic perfection in art. The only way to live serenely……is to install yourself on some pyramid. both Marx and Flaubert suffer disillusionment with history and then each of them turn to a different lens through which to critique modernity.