The Wife of Bath establishes herself as an authority on marriage, due to her extensive personal experience with the institution. Since her first marriage at the tender age of twelve, she has had five husbands for seemingly all the wrong reasons. This tale paints a very harsh image on women therefore I would like to view this tale from a feminist stand point and address the struggle for female equability and also discuss the representation of female gender roles. It portrays women in all the wrong ways and allows people to assume the worst in us. This tale includes a character that, in my personal opinion, appears to parallel a feminist of some sort. However, during this time, the pilgrims reacted negatively towards her considering feminism was thought to be an abnormal act. Regardless of what others around her thought, The Wife of Bath was shameless with her acts and displayed herself for what she really was. She was not apologetic about her multiple marriages and in fact was willing to marry again with no shame. The Wife of Bath was an open book and hid nothing. In the prologue of this tale it showed that The Wife of Bath was not exactly an upstanding women in society nor did she have any desire to be portrayed as such. Almost as soon as she began to speak in the prologue it is immediately evident that she portrays some traits of feminism. She explains her five husbands and is un apologetic about her search for a sixth. She admits to marrying for money: “I’ll tell the
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Marriage is supposed to be the unity of two people as partners in an equal relationship. Yet, in the Wife of Bath’s Tale and the Clerk’s Tale, they demonstrate that marriage is an inevitable battle for power and dominance. The Wife of Bath expresses the pain of marriage and that women are the leaders. Whereas, the Clerk believes that women should be obedient to men in a relationship. Despite the two contrasting opinions, both tales are an epitome of the respective points of view.
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, he introduces a character known as the Wife of Bath. It is her turn to tell the stories, and her tale begins discussing her past marriages in the prologue. Married five times, the Wife of Bath tells us about her own marital issues, and the way she was able to manipulate the gender roles to her own advantage. As interesting of a character as she is, I find Chaucer created the Wife of Bath to deliberately introduce the issues gender roles play in our society. I believe that the role the of the Wife of Bath in the tale was purposely written by Chaucer to twist the traditional gender roles of the time, satirizing how gender plays in society.
The Canterbury Tales depict many characters that, although fictionally created by Geoffrey Chaucer, may give the reader the opportunity to analyze and interpret their tales as a way of determining their personalities. The Wife of Bath and her prologue accurately supports this statement, as her intentions become expounded due to her questionable actions. The Wife of Bath exhibits in her prologue that she lacks respect and gratitude towards the men she beguiles into marriage and does so by falsely claiming direction from God. She shows not only deceit towards her many husbands, but also does not possess the ability to care about others before herself.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is an important part of his most famed work, The Canterbury Tales. One of the most respected highly analyzed of all of the tales, this particular one is important both for its character development and its prevailing themes. It seamlessly integrates ideas on society at that time with strong literary development. This work stands the test of time both because of its literary qualities and because of what it can teach us about the role of women in late Medieval society.
"The Wife of Bath", in the collection of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, illustrates the stereotypical image of a women in medieval times ("The Portrayal of Gender in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.") The tale characterizes women as lustful and greedy burdens on men. However, to readers today, "The Wife of Bath" represents a strong minded feminist woman who is confident and open about her sexuality. Narrated by a character called Alisoun, "The Wife of Bath" reveals an insight to a woman’s point of view in medieval times. Alisoun begins her long prologue by declaring that she follows the rule of experience; announcing that she’s a self–proclaimed women. Throughout the her tale Alisoun questions and challenges the idea of power and authority in medieval society. Through Alisoun, Chaucer gives women a voice to express their call for equality and their need for power. By using description and characterization, Chaucer gives readers an insight to a society in which women are starting to express their desire to have power ultimately arguing that in order for men to be happy women need to have sovereignty in medieval times.
The Wife of Bath is perhaps the most fully realized character in the Canterbury Tales. Headstrong, boisterous and opinionated, she wages a perpetual struggle against the denigration of women and the taboos against female sexuality. She issues a number of rebuttals against strict religious claims for chastity and monogamy, using Biblical examples including Solomon to show that the Bible does not overtly condemn all expressions of sexuality, even outside of marriage. Those who use religious texts to argue for the submission of women are the most fervent targets of scorn for the Wife of Bath. She claims that the reason for the bias against women in these texts is due to the lack of experience and contact with women of those who write the text. It is this antipathy to intellectual arguments against femininity that causes her to tear the pages from Jankin's book.
“The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is a frame story in the story “Canterbury Tales,” written by Geoffrey Chaucer and it brings a lot of controversy. In the story, the Knight rapes a young girl and as punishment, is forced to find the answer to what women truly want. The Knight stumbles onto an Old Woman who claims to have the answer to his punishment. The woman agrees to give him her answer so long as he does whatever she wants. As part of the deal, the Knight marries the old woman despite his disgust for her appearance. At the end of the story the Knight accepts the woman for who she is and gives her the choice to be herself, resulting in equality between them. Many readers are quick to find the anti-feminist views, however, the story is much more feminist than they give it credit for. The story is feminist because it gives women the choice to be viewed as more than just objects.
One main theme in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is female dominance and equality. In the tale, the wife portrays her dominance through her own experience. For example, the image of the whip sets her role as master, and she tells everyone that she is the head of her household. Despite her claim that experience is her sole power, the Wife of Bath evidently feels the need to create her authority in a more scholarly manner. She mimics the habits of the scholars and churchmen by supporting her claims with quotations from antique works and scripture.
The prologue of this tale showed that the Wife of Bath was not seen as an upstanding woman, nor did she desire to be seen as one. She portrayed feminism, almost as soon as she began speaking in the prologue, she explained that she had gone through five husbands, and she was on the look out for a sixth. She also admitted that she married for money:
Of all the numerous females depicted in literature throughout the centuries, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath has inspired more in-depth discussion and gender-oriented analysis than the majority. She is in turn praised and criticized for her behavior and her worldview; critics can’t seem to decide whether she is a strong portrayal of 14th century feminism or a cutting mockery of the female sex. Both her tale and its prologue are riddled with themes of conflict and power struggle between the sexes, and the victor of this battle is not made explicit. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales being a parody of various societal conceptions and literary conventions, it is likely that this ambiguity was entirely intentional. By comparing the Wife of Bath and
Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath Prologue and Tale” focus on the story telling of a woman who has experienced her fair share of marital issues. She is depicted as a promiscuous woman, married five times and had plenty of male suitors, the Wife was not like any other woman during this era. Although her reputation was how most perceived her, she was not a fan of being scrutinized for what she considered as her duty as a woman; to not remain single. This is seen through the depiction of women in society, how marriage ought to be in the eyes of religion, and how men were to view a woman like her. The language that is used throughout Chaucer’s prologue and tale allude to the evolution of women as well as how they struggled to gain any recognition in
Feminists have proposed that the Prologue of the Wife of Bath is merely an attack on women and married life. The Prologue is spoken by a woman with strong opinions on how married life should be conducted, but is written by a man. It is important to examine the purpose with which Chaucer wrote it. This is especially so as many of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales condemn themselves out of their own mouths, such as the Monk and the Friar. While the Wife spends most of the Prologue arguing in favour of the deceit and deviousness that wise wives will execute, the argument is often illogical and can approach ridiculousness in its vehemence. Are we to agree with
To expand on what was said about women and negative connotations that are placed upon them as the Wife of Bath points out was a matter that was seen even in writings of the time as her fifth husband read to her very often the wrong doings of "wicked wives" and how all women are a disturbance and only seek money and all the finer things from their men. The absolute goal was to make women look like nuisances. At this point there was much literal works to in her Prologue to prove the cynical mind
The Wife of Bath contains three issues that were pretty extreme for the women of the time period. The negative connotation linked with the women and sex is the first one, the second is the position of husband and wife in marriages that leave the women submissive and the men in control, and third is the violence done by men to women. The seriousness of these issues were not discussed at all by men and most certainly not by women. The fact that the Wife of Bath brought up such issues and promoted the ideas of women in these situations was profound. The wife is smart in her delivery in both the Prologue and Tale. The Tale restates all of the subjects of marriage, violence, and sex that she first brings up in the Prologue, and
Like most of literature, The Wife of Bath can be read in multiple perspectives. Within The Wife of Bath, it can be read as feministic and or misogynistic. Chaucer projects his views towards feminism through the wife and her views and attitudes. Many literary critics explored the feministic views of The Wife of Bath. She is a strongminded and dominant woman who knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t need a man to achieve such unless in regards to sexual behaviors but one must examine the definition of feminism and this is not it. A feminist is someone who believes that women and men are equal. Which leads the reader to wonder if Chauncer is playing upon genders or maybe even confused.