Society, in the form of the expectations around marriage and motherhood, is the antagonist of the novel. The characters who thwart Edna’s quest for self-expression do so as embodiments of societal norms. Léonce provides a clear barrier to Edna pursuing her happiness because as her husband, he has power over her life. Robert will not pursue a relationship with Edna despite being in love with her because she’s already married. Edna’s flagrant disregard for social mores disturbs both Léonce and Robert, leading them to disrupt her plans. When Edna moves into the pigeon house, Léonce undermines her autonomy by making the move seem like a joint decision in order to avoid public scandal. Robert's final rejection—”goodbye, because I love you”—implies that he believes going against society will ultimately damage Edna’s life, wresting that choice away from her. However, Edna identifies her own children, Etienne and Raoul, as her ultimate antagonists. As individuals, Etienne and Raoul do not hinder Edna’s autonomy, but their existence forces Edna into the societal role of mother. As a mother, she must subvert her desires so that they may thrive, preventing her from truly building a life of her own.