Essay about The Significance of Women in Chaucer's The Cantebury Tales
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The Significance of Women in Chaucer's The Cantebury Tales
In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Cantebury Tales, many stories are told leading to a wide range of topics. One particular and significant topic Chaucer touches on many times is the role of women. In stories such as The Millers Tale, The Knight's Tale, and the Wife of Bath's Tale the women of each story are portrayed extremely different. Alisoun, Emelye, and the wife of Bath, each exemplify three dissimilar ways in which women love. The way Chaucer describes each of these characters is dependent on the out come of each particular story. Chaucer is careful with his word choice and figurative language with each woman, enabling the reader to get a very visual and sometimes…show more content… Palamon and Arcite parallel each other when it comes to loving Emelye. They both speak of her as if she was a goddess because they are so in love. Emelye represents a strong woman, but yet Chaucer does touch on the point it is not her decision who she marries. This idea is relevant in both the Miller's Tale and the Knight's Tale. Chaucer is notifying the reader that even though it seems these women have power in his tales ironically, they still have to succumb to cultural ways.
Alisoun, the woman of the Miller's Tale represents the antithesis of Emelye. Peter Brown issues his opinion on Chaucer' creating Alisoun as she is and states,
"Alisoun exists as an individual with independent life because she is so different for the model which Chaucer inherited. But the perception of difference depends on an uderstanding of the norm. So her existence as a literary character is paradoxical; it both depends upon, and rejects the stereotype"(87).
Chaucer creates her so she is coquettish, wily, and a bit irresponsible. The only things these two women have in common are the fact that they are both beautiful and desired by more than one man. Chaucer creates Alisoun to parody Emelye, and in doing so the readers are able to notice the