Chaucer's Women From Eve to Mary Essay

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Chaucer's Women From Eve to Mary The Middle Ages was an interesting time to be a woman. For centuries the church generally disapproved of, with equal measure, women and sex. Women were not even thought of as human beings, and were seen as necessary only in what they could do for their men. When the men left for the Crusades women were given a larger role in the upkeep of their husbands’ houses and estates, and assumed a more public role in the community. This gave the women a greater feeling of independence, which they did not relinquish entirely when the men returned. As the men returned from the crusades they brought with them a new found openness to ideas, and a newfound respect for the worship of the Virgin Mary. These are two of…show more content…
The narrator admires her good looks from afar and treats her as if she is a character in some minstrel’s courtly love song. Even her name is not a religious one; Eglentyne would have been a name associated with the romances of Medieval England, not the church. Chaucer shows the Prioress to be a charming fraud. She acts above her station by keeping dogs, speaking French (with an English accent), and wearing jewelry, which would be inappropriate on any nun in any century. Her table manners are also courtly, she never spills any sauce and never gets any on her fingers. They way she eats is also showcases her virtuous nature, the way people eat has long been a gage of what they are like in bed. The narrator also shows the Prioress to be selectively tenderhearted. The proof of her hypocritical nature is shown in her attentions to her dogs. “But sore weep she if oon of hem were deed, Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte:” She cares deeply about her dogs, she loves them, she hates to see them suffering. She also feeds them meat, milk and expensive bread, to keep them healthy. Too bad that there are a lot of people in England starving in the aftermath of the plague, as long as her dogs are fine, she is happy. By showing the Prioress in comparison to what a “Lady” of that time would have been, and by allowing her to be admired by the narrator and the others in a non-religious way Chaucer shows us the church’s
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