preview

The Wife Of Bath Tales And Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

Good Essays
One may contend that Sexton rejects the appalling degradation of women as being witches, foul-fiends and tempting creatures in literature, too. She admits that men’s “dead body did not feel the spade and the sewer as [her] live body felt the fire” (92). Shakespeare depicts Joan, in Henry VI, as “a ‘troll,’ ‘witch,’ ‘strumpet,’ ‘foul fiend of France’ (qtd. in Sarawsat 90). Likewise, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales represents the ‘wife of Bath Tale’ as bawdy. The protagonist Alison “still submits to the rule of patriarchal world”, she suffers because she is oppressed to the bone. She “struggles for respect in her own household”. That is why; she needs an inner upheaval to dispel any sense of dejection. She is…show more content…
A witch and a housewife are “emotionally” distant from the contemporary women who have liberated their body and forged their identity. Caroline King Bernard Hall explains Sexton’s emphasis on the witch figure. She decodes the very heart of its enigmas. A witch is none but the housewife, the woman who has innumerable duties to fulfill as a mother, a wife and a woman:
Witches (always female, of course) are by nature alienated, different, shunned by society. More important, a witch possesses magic powers. … This witch may appear an ordinary woman in daytime, but she lives on the border of sanity and normalcy, going out into the night world to pursue her true imaginative vision, transforming the ordinary domestic scene into something mad and nightmarish. (qtd. in Price 6)
In stanza two, Sexton probes the housewife status. Within a patriarchal society, women are not given priority. If men have wisdom, women lack rationality. If men are strong, women are weak and passive. These classical stereotypes have been reversed by Sexton. She uses her pen to uncover the atrocities of a society where man dominates the scene. For Wittig, such institution proves to be fake. Within it, the “female body becomes a form of compulsory service” similar to “the military one” (qtd. in Cavallaro 95). Within the context of mid-Twentieth century American society, the female body is reduced to
Get Access