The Wife of Bath: A Literary Analysis Essay

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Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is an important part of his most famed work, The Canterbury Tales. One of the most respected highly analyzed of all of the tales, this particular one is important both for its character development and its prevailing themes. It seamlessly integrates ideas on society at that time with strong literary development. This work stands the test of time both because of its literary qualities and because of what it can teach us about the role of women in late Medieval society. In terms of literary quality, Chaucer went great lengths to give all elements a bit of attention. The work is primarily about a knight who is pardoned from a rape on the condition that he acquires the answer to one of life’s …show more content…

The language used in the work is quite formal, but that is to be expected given the time frame it was written. His form in this story might be construed as a form of poetry, and Chaucer made things work by using artful language. In describing marriage, he used especially floral writing. Chaucer wrote, “Lo, there's the wise old king Dan Solomon; I understand he had more wives than one; And now would God it were permitted me To be refreshed one half as oft as he! Which gift of God he had for all his wives!” (Chaucer). Additionally, Chaucer was very well known for his use of alliteration. He routinely used similar sounds to get the most out of the action and this makes his work much more readable. He wrote, “To read, within this book, of wicked wives. He knew of them more legends and more lives” (Chaucer). This use liberal use of consonants was a major part of the work and was innovative in its historical context. One looking at the theme, one could easily say that it is all about the power of women. Chaucer used the strong female character to get this across, and many believe that it likely would not have worked if the author had not first established such a strong voice. Early scholars argued that the book was more about marriage than it was female strength (Kittredge, 1912). Whatever the case, it is clear that Chaucer’s primary focus was on explaining the role women might play in society if they were able to. This particular work of

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