The Wife Of Bath, By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

1487 WordsNov 1, 20166 Pages
The fetters of marriage and misogynist rhetoric plagued women during the 14th century, as they were subverted into a secondary class position that deprived them of agency and sexual satisfaction. Throughout Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” the Wife of Bath provides didactic social commentary on the discrepancies between marriage and virginity and expounds the idea of giving sovereignty to women in relationships. Although the Wife of Bath is portrayed and characterized to some antifeminist stereotypes, her fervent and unorthodox commands enrich the reasoning behind her sexual voraciousness: her simple quest for her own freedom. She acknowledges the uneven power dynamic within the patriarchal society and emphasizes that embodying masculine characteristics while accompanying it with sexual manipulation can be used as a vehicle for usurping power from men. This power, of which was meant to devalue and deprive women of their sexual satisfaction, is successfully exposed in the Wife of Bath’s physical aggressiveness and within the dissonance between nobility and the Bible’s teachings of nobility. Thus, the Wife of Bath utilizes a multi-faceted approach in deconstructing the misogynistic society by considering religious, economic and sexual perspectives which allows her to propose a powerful paradigm where women can freely express their agency and renounce archetypal stereotypes. Although the Wife of Bath’s sexual promiscuity may be understood as a satirical caricature of
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