The Wife Of Bath Prologue And John Webster 's The Duchess Of Malfi

2337 Words Nov 25th, 2014 10 Pages
Stephanie Polkowski
Dr. Finnlayson
ENGL 311
11/24/14
Entertainment and education through the oppression of women finds a common place in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath Prologue and John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi. In both stories the audience is introduced to the idea of female independence and strength through a confident and skilled female character who envelops the knowledge required to subvert the standards of patriarchal and misogynistic society. While both women in the The Wife of Bath Prologue and The Duchess of Malfi are varied characters who (think they) exude authority and seem to be able to live outside the limitations of a patriarchal society, at a closer look it is obvious this is not the case. Chaucer and Webster have both developed a story that parallel the stereotypes of the misogynist political and social structure of the time. Furthermore, they have blended comedy and entertainment to create stories that are didactic in nature they reaffirm the stereotype of unruly widows and ultimately show that no good will come to women who attempt to live outside the structural confines of the patriarchal and misogynist structures of society.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath Prologue is a text which employs the female voice through an exaggerated female narrator who believes her life experience provides her the authority necessary to weigh in on the conflict that is marriage and a woman’s role within that marriage. Upon further analysis one may argue that…
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