Canterbury Tales Essay - Anti-Feminist Rhetoric in The Wife Of Bath

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Anti-Feminist Rhetoric in The Wife Of Bath In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, The Wife of Bath is a strong woman who loudly states her opinions about the antifeminist sentiments popular at the time. Chaucer, however, frequently discredits her arguments by making them unfounded and generally compromising her character. This brings into question Chaucer's political intent with the Wife of Bath. Is he supportive of her views, or is he making a mockery of woman who challenge the patriarchal society and its restriction and mistrust of women? The Wife's comedic character, frequent misquoting of authorities, marital infidelity, and her (as well as Chaucer's) own antifeminist sentiments weaken the argument that Chaucer supported…show more content…
Another example of the Wife's comedy is when she tells her soon-to-be fifth husband of a fictitious dream involving blood. She credits her mother with the idea, but it is ridiculous because after her fourth husband, she is clearly not a virgin. The Wife seems oblivious to this, which makes it all the more humorous and discredits her further. Perhaps the most ruinous of the Wife's characteristics is her frequent misquoting of authorities. Assuming that the editors of The Norton Anthology are correct, and that Chaucer knew that the Wife's claims were incorrect, the frequency of her false authoritative references diminishes the credibility of her arguments. During her prologue, she uses the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well to question the Bible's view of remarriage. As Norton points out, Jesus is denouncing the woman's sixth lover, to whom she is not yet married. She misquotes the Bible again in her comment about white and barley bread . According to Norton, "it is actually John, not Mark, who mentions the barley bread." A third misquote occurs during her prologue: "Whoso that nil be war by othere men,/By him shal othere men corrected be. " Again, according to Norton, this passage does not appear anywhere in Ptolemy's Almagest. While the Wife is rattling on about her high ideals in marriage, Chaucer hints at her infidelity. While it is never stated
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