Cantebury Tales - Relation Of Wife Of Bath To Contemporary Women

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Hundreds of centuries before the fourteenth century, during it and yet still after, civilization, led by the educated theologians, politicians and whoever else made up the ruling class, women were looked at as the Devil’s ally – a sensual and deceitful creature who was a constant bearer of sin and the cause of most of man’s misfortune. Women then and now may look upon most of these “devilish” characteristics as desirable, strong-willed and feministic. Chaucer appears to support women and specifically these devilish feminists by creating two very strong-willed and successful women in the Wife of Bath and the old hag in the Wife’s tale. However, through all of the tough outer attributes, on the inside are the same classic and traditional…show more content…
The complexity and uniqueness of Dame Alice, as is her name, is symbolized by having a prologue practically twice as long as her tale. Chaucer creates a tremendous example of all the things women desired at the time that men would not allow them with Dame Alice. She strikes fear into the town and its parish to the point where she gets and does whatever she wants. A perfect example of the fear and respect the town has for her is on lines 459-463 in the General Prologue: “In all the parish not a dame dared stir, Towards the altar steps in front of her, And if indeed they did, so wrath was she as to be quite put out of charity.” Furthermore, her extravagance and boldness are exhibited in numerous cases, including lines 457-458: “In making cloth she showed so great a bent she bettered those of Ypres and of Ghent.” As well as on lines 463-467: “Her kerchiefs were of finely woven ground; I dared have sworn they weighed a good ten pound, The ones she wore on Sunday, on her head. Her hose were of the finest scarlet red and gartered tight; her shoes were soft and new.” Likewise on lines 480-483: “Well wimpled up, and on her head a hat as broad as is a buckler or a shield; She had a flowing mantle that concealed large hips, her heels spurred sharply under that.” The Wife of Bath is a zealous woman who freely admits to all the lust, the conniving and the spoiledness that defines her. Furthermore, she prides herself in the fact

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