The Power Of Women In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Wife Of Bath

Decent Essays
Magic once ruled the land of Briton, before the time of King Arthur. Not everything was as it seemed, and truth was hidden by a veil of ugliness. When a lusty knight must prove himself to be a gentleman after he rapes a young maiden, he discovers that which every man wants to know: what women truly want. According to the tale told by the Wife of Bath, “Women desire to have sovereignty/ As well over their husbands as their loves, / And to be in mastery them above” (Chaucer 1044-1046). This statement means that to be masters over their husbands is the ultimate desire of all women. Therefore, the power women have in this time is the power over their husbands, and this power is what they truly desire. However, this is not a common occurrence,…show more content…
This may seem like she is an evil person. She even remarks, “Oh Lord! The pain I did them and the woe. / And, by God’s sweet pain, they were not guilty!” (389-390). She recognizes their pain, and understands that she is lying to them and causes them said pain. Yet, in doing this, she also gives them pleasure, as she makes her husbands believe that she is overwhelmingly loyal to them, and only wants to please him. In the end, she gets her way and proves that she has power over them. In her mind, this power is not evil. Alison believes that if God grants a person a gift, they should utilize it to the best of their abilities. Regarding the manipulation, she states that, “Deceit, weeping, and spinning God did give/ To women by nature, all the time they live” (407-408). If God grants her these powers, how can they be evil? For God is the ultimate judge of what is Good and Evil, and would only give humans good abilities. These thoughts are how Alison justifies her actions. If women are given these powers which are from God, and God is Good, then it is good to use her lies to remain happy. She goes on to prove this through the example of her chastity. Alison uses her powers of manipulation to remain chaste. As a woman, it is her duty according to God to help the human race multiply. Therefore, she is able to state that, “I am free/ To wed, by God, where it pleases me. / [St. Paul] says to be wedded is not sinning” (55-58). As such, having five husbands
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