The Wife Of Bath 's Prologue And Tale

1697 WordsApr 8, 20167 Pages
Sawyer Guest English 470 04 April 2016 Empowering Women, or Degrading Them? Exploring Anti-Feminism in The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale. So often, scholars tend to put a large focus on feminism seen throughout Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale”, but they may not be seeing the larger picture of it all. There are definitely characteristics of the Wife that make her a strong female personality in the story, but is it fair for us to say that she embodies the characteristics of an entirely feminist character that completely overcomes the anti-feminism present in society during her time period? There are in fact many somewhat subtle, yet strong anti-feminist messages being portrayed through the Wife’s tale, which I will be exploring and explaining in depth. To many, the Wife of Bath is considered a strong female character that defends women and feels strongly about men giving up sovereignty in order to establish equality in a marriage. Rigby states that the Wife is a “persuasive defender of the vision of equality in marriage.”(134), but in “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue”, the Wife practically confesses to having manipulated four of her five husbands for “Bothe of here nether purs and of here chest.” (Chaucer 103) This simply displays that she used all of them for her own sexual pleasure their wealth. In her prologue, the Wife so blatantly accuses her husbands of saying and doing things to her “in hir dronkenness”, but then states “al was fals.”(lines
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