Analysis Of ' The Wife Of Bath '

1660 Words Dec 3rd, 2015 7 Pages
The Canterbury Fails: An Analysis of Misogyny in the Wife of Bath’s Tale
At first glance, you wouldn’t think that the Wife of Bath’s tale is anything other than feminist. She is, undeniably, the only non-religious female character in The Canterbury Tales and therefore is the only character who is approached from a point of view that was generally uncommon. We don’t have many— or even any, as far as I’m aware— pieces of medieval literature written by or for women or with a main female protagonist. If there is a female character present in a male dominated story, they are usually there to be someone’s wife, treated like property or a whore and in some instances, all three. So, as a way to be original, Chaucer took this opportunity to use a female character that is unlike any other in his time. Except that her tale does exactly what it sets up not to: it rewards a man for being a brute. The Wife of Bath is supposedly a “strong female character,” but Chaucer fails to show how her character has values that defy those of the average medieval person.
The only obvious differences between the Wife of Bath’s tale versus her male counterparts is her perspective as a woman. The Wife of Bath offers a lengthy and detailed sexual and marital history for herself which preludes a short story detailing a knight’s supposed conversion. These two tales are directly related— the Wife of Bath’s favorite husband is the one who abused her and the knight in her tale is a repented rapist. It would be…
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