Women gain sovereignty over the male gender in The Wife of Bath’s Tale. In the tale the knight rapes a maiden that he meets as he is coming from a river. The Queen and her court of ladies rule that his penalty for such dishonourable behaviour is to find out, in one year and a day, what women most desire or he will be decapitated.
The wife of bath’s tale shows how the partriarchy plagued chilvary. It also shows the expectation women had in their relationships and how men were
The Wife of Bath pursued husbands in a way that did not benefit both sides of the marriage. She clearly admits that she does not show shame from having sexual relations with many different men, as she simply desires sex and riches from wealthy men. Medieval civilizations did not consider this behavior appropriate, as it conflicted with ideas of courtly love and God’s word. She states that, “I am dominated by the planet Venus in my senses, and my heart is dominated by the planet Mars” (Chaucer 626). This statement supports that her body and desires only seek pleasure, while her true soul remains conflicted, unable to truly love. At the end of each marriage she appears as the one who reigns victorious and still willing to remarry: “I boast of one thing for myself; in the end I had the better in every way” (430). The Wife does not have respect for her multiple wedded spouses, and would rather remain happy when they leave her than to flood herself with emotion of sadness.
"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’s Tale in the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a very pivotal point in the text. It argues in favor of feminine dominance in marriage in a time where women were always under the skeptical view. The leading example of the medieval skeptical view of women is St. Jerome’s response against Jovinian. It shows how women were more restricted than men and thought to be in the fault for the wrong things that happen to them. Chaucer opposes that stereotype by introducing the Wife of Bath, a very radical character just like the other characters in the Canterbury Tales. The Wife is a very outspoken feminist and justifies her decision to remarry four times. She uses St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and other arguments to undermine the traditional antifeminism arguments, such as St. Jerome’s, against her remarriages.
The Wife of Bath begins the prologue to her tale by boasting of her experience in marriage. She has married five men already, and ignores the idea that this is a reproach to Christian principles. She is merely adhering to the Christian principle of "be fruitful and multiply." She cites the case of King Solomon, who had multiple wives, and tells the group that she welcomes the opportunity for her sixth husband. She also points out that Jesus never lays down a law about virginity, and essentially states that we have the parts for sex and should use them as such. The Pardoner objects to the Wife of Bath's musings on marriage, but she decides to tell
The Wife of Bath 's Prologue and Tale is about female empowerment it shows strong protagonists. I believe Geoffrey Chaucer used The Wife of Bath’s Tale to advocate for feminism. Chaucer used a strong female character to expose female stereotypes. It was an oppressive time for women in male-dominated society. During the Middle Ages, Chaucer wrote from a woman’s point of view something that was not normal at that time. He set his feminist ideals through the characters of the Wife of Bath and the old woman. He used subtle methods like humor to show his ideals. During Chaucer’s time nobody was used to the idea of women being equal to men, this idea did not exist. Chaucer expressed his ideas in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale by being one of the first to understand and acknowledge a women’s struggle in society, through this tale he shows the difference between men and women and their positions of power. In the Wife of Bath’s Tale, feminism is showed by the knight recognizing and listening to his wife. Chaucer is a feminist for his time because he used humor to mask his unpopular ideas he used these characters to voice his opinions.
Can men and women ever truly understand each other? Readers see that in “the Wife of Bath’s Tale” that a knight was sent on a year quest to find out what women actually want. In “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” that she views that women should be treated equal but they are treated only for their beauty not their intelligence. In “The Men we Carry in Our Minds” it shows how different women and men were treated. men only having manual labor jobs and women taking care of children not much in between. (Chaucer pp.77, Sanders pp.131, Wollstonecraft pp. 114).
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:
It was a tale written long ago, along with many more from the Canterbury Tales, describing a woman who has had 5 different husbands. She always married men above average and she always believed that it wasn't a happy marriage unless the woman was in control. "The Wife of Bath Tale" has many elements normally found in fairy tales. One characteristic of fairy tales is that they happen long ago. This is also true of the Wife's tale.
The Wife of Bath begins the Prologue declaring, “Experience, though noon auctoritee / Were in this world, is right ynogh for me / To speke of wo that is in mariage" (GP 1-3). She had her first marriage at the age of twelve, an important key in Chaucer’s usage of age to show how it affects the amount of control one can have in a relationship. She also gives a brief explanation of why she marries these five men by saying “Blessed be God, that I have wedded fyve; / (Of whiche I ... the beste, / Bothe of here nether purs and of here cheste.)” (WP 44-46) By saying this, the Wife makes it known that throughout her marriages that money and sex have been important factors.
Kensi Laube Professor Parrish British Literature I 22 September 2017 Critical Response Paper #2 In The Wife of Bath’s Tale, the addition of the maiden’s rape allows the audience to create an interpretation behind Chaucer’s change to the story. By having the main female characters accept and forgive the knight for his actions, Chaucer’s “forgotten” victim seems to represent a feminist criticism about a society which supports anti feminist beliefs.
The Wife of Bath uses bible verses in “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue.” Further, she employs the verses as an outline of her life to find reason in God to justify her actions. Nevertheless, the purpose of the verses differs within each stanza of the poem. The Wife of Bath is a sexually promiscuous, lustful, and manipulative woman. She marries men one after the other as they get older and die. In order to combat and overthrow the speculation and criticism being thrust upon her by societal norms because of her marriages, the wife turns to specific bible passages to find reason in life and support for her actions (Article Myriad.com). When the wife is having sex quite frequently and with different men she is said to be fruitful and multiplying. According to the wife, this is what she is told to do in the bible passage, which she has misinterpreted. Ironically, The Wife of Bath is using a predominantly male dominated book to back up and support her reasons for women being equal to men (Article Myriad.com). Not only has she referred to the benefits of adultery through the bible, she has also attempted to undermine the power of men in the very same way she has attempted to prove that the genders are equal. From this, it can be interpreted that although the wife claims to be providing evidence for women being equal to men, she is actually saying that women are better than men. She misinterprets the readings of the bible and male written passages on purpose in order to suit her needs.
Misogyny is not only visible in the Miller’s tale, but also in the Wife of Bath’s tale through the very superficial standards set for women by men. The old woman asks that the knight marries her in return for giving him the answer to the riddle and he reacts in disgust and horror, “‘...to take me as your wife…‘Alas and woe is me!...I am ugly and poor…my damnation! Alas, that any of my birth should ever be so foully disgraced!” (Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” 199-213). The knight is visibly distraught, using words such as “damnation” and “disgraced” when the old woman expresses her wish to marry him. He displays these emotions not because she wants to get married, but because she is ugly and poor. He is worried because an ugly wife will mar his reputation and is a poor reflection of him. This translates to the misogynistic society during the time period where women were seen as property to be shown off, rather than people who deserved respect. The recurring theme of misogyny in these two tales shows that Chaucer does not feel sympathy for the opposite gender, but instead belittles their plight.
In the “The Wife of the Bath,” it expressed the different areas for the theme of the story to be feminism. Feminism is the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. In this prologue, the tale consisted of a woman who engaged into multiple marriages in which lasted unsuccessfully. This story reveals how feminist icons influence other groups of women to become a supportive advocate. The Wife of the Bath conveys the theme of this tale to represent power in feminism. The character plays an important role of being an advocate to women’s rights. In this essay, the reader will be able to identify how Alyson (Wife of the Bath) is a feminist icon in this part of the Canterbury Tales.