Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Anti-Feminist Beliefs in Miller's Tale and Wife of Bath's Tale
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Anti-Feminist Beliefs in The Miller's Tale and The Wife of Bath's Tale
The Miller's Tale and The Wife of Bath's Tale feature two characters that, though they may appear to be different, are actually very similar. They both seem to confirm the anti-feminine beliefs that existed at the time Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales. However, they go about it in different ways. Alison, the woman in The Miller's Tale, tries to hide the fact that she has a passion for men other than her husband, and keep her position as an upstanding citizen intact. The Wife of Bath, meanwhile, has no qualms about displaying herself as she really is. She is not ashamed of the fact she has married five times, and is about to marry again. She hides nothing.…show more content…
Her husband John, though, seems to be able to see through this ruse, as the lines "Jalous he was, and heeld hire narwe in cage, For she was wilde and yong, and he was old, And deemed himself been like a cokewold," (Miller 103) suggest. It turns out John has good reason to be jealous, since, as soon as he leaves, Alison begins having an affair with Nicholas. Yet, even in an affair, Alison initially tries to keep her wholesome image intact ["And she sprong as a colt dooth in a trave, And with hir heed she wried fast away; She saide, 'I wol nat kisse thee, by my fay. Why, lat be,' quod she, 'lat be, Nicholas! Or I wol crye "Out, harrow, and allas!" Do way youre handes, for your curteisye!'"(Miller 105)]. Eventually, though, she does crumble, and tells Nicholas that she will secretly meet with him.
For her part, though, Alison cheats on John with only one man. When Absolon, who is extremely smitten with her, comes to call, Alison not only brushes him off, she treats him badly: "She loveth so this hende Nicholas That Absolon may blow his bukkes horn; He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn. And thus she maketh Absolon hir ape, And al his ernest turneth til a jape." (Miller 107) Through this, Alison also shows the reader that she is not all she appears. She couldn't just ignore the poor guy; she had to make him look like a fool.
Of course, it is at the end of The Miller's Tale