Geoffrey Chaucer Stance on Feminism

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The investigation into whether or not Geoffrey Chaucer was ahead of his time in terms of his views on feminism has been up for debate for hundreds of years. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue is just one solitary example of the complicated nature of Chaucer’s belief system. On the one hand, we have many strong female characters that despite still being extremely dependant on the men in their lives, know what they want out of life. From a contrasting point of view, readers see a group of men, including Chaucer as the writer himself, making fun of the very nature of women as a whole. Is this really how Chaucer felt towards women, or is the prologue of The Wife of Bath’s Tale simply a parody of the opinions of his time? When questioning Chaucer’s…show more content…
The side that uses her wiles to get multiple husbands. It is mentioned that she is looked down upon by different men in society for having married five times. The first time she was married was at twelve, to an elderly men. This arrangement was likely made by her father, but she used the situation to her advantage. She uses her body and sex in order to get money or land from her husbands; never stopping when it comes to using guilt to trick them into handing over their fortunes. The second side of Alyson is that of the doting wife. She enjoys being married and even welcomes the thought of marrying a sixth time if the right man were to come along (45). She and her husbands argued sometimes, like in the instance with the Clerk, but she enjoys marriage nonetheless. There is also a third side to Alyson. This side is strong and willful. She stays with her fifth husband despite the fact that she can still feel the bruises he had left on her body ages ago (505-508). Despite what the Catholic church or society might have to say about the matter, Alyson does not consider herself to be the property of any of the men in her life. She also believes that if a woman enjoys sex, than she should be able to have it when she wants. It is the husband’s obligation to go along with her wants. Alyson meets the Clerk, her fifth husband, while her fourth one was still alive. The relationship starts off rocky as she lies to him about dreams she has where he

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