Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Wife of Bath - Feminist or Anti-feminist?

1451 Words 6 Pages
In view of the fact that the Wife of Bath herself does seem to behave in the manner women are accused of behaving by the anti-feminist writers, it is not impossible that the Wife of Bath's Prologue could be considered a vehicle for the anti-feminist message under the guise of a seeming "feminist" exterior, since her confession is frequently self-incriminating (e.g. her treatment of her husbands, her tendency to "swere and lyen") and demonstrates the truth of the claims made by the anti-feminists even while she is disparaging them and making them look bad -- as in her claim that anti-feminist writers (specifically the "clerks", i.e. learned scholars) are revenging themselves on women because of their own sexual impotence that prevents …show more content…
Also, while she claims Biblical support for her views on marriage, the support that she cites is conveniently edited to suit her purposes (for example, Solomon did have 700 wives and 300 concubines -- but his appetites led to his turning away from God; and the marital relationship specified in the Bible is a reciprocal one rather than the one-sided one she speaks of, tilted in favour of the wife -- she conveniently ignores that while the "Apostel [...] / [...] bad oure housbondes for to love us weel", he also exhorts women to love their husbands), and she elsewhere ignores the Bible when it proves difficult to "glose" in her favour (as in her dismissal of its injunction to dress "in habit maad with chastitee and shame"). Moreover, her behaviour is a demonstration of all the anti-feminist accusations
Open Document