The Wife of Bath, who was married five times, married all of her husbands for money. The last husband, Jenkin, was the one she truly loved, but told him about a dream that never happened. She told him that she dreamt of blood filling her bed, but the blood represented gold. This was a lie. She also told him that she was enchanted with him, and even though she was, it was for the wrong reason at that moment. In the Wife of Bath's tale, the old wife tricks the knight into marrying her by making him pledge troth to her, and does not mention marriage. Also, both women gain control of the marriages. The Wife of Bath is hit by her husband after she hits him, but after they reconciled she gets control over the marriage after she cries, and he gives her his estate and riches. The old wife gains control when she asks him what he wants. When he tells her to decide she gains control of the relationship when she chooses both beauty and fidelity. By them tricking their men and gaining control of the relationship, they seem to be
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, he introduces a character known as the Wife of Bath. It is her turn to tell the stories, and her tale begins discussing her past marriages in the prologue. Married five times, the Wife of Bath tells us about her own marital issues, and the way she was able to manipulate the gender roles to her own advantage. As interesting of a character as she is, I find Chaucer created the Wife of Bath to deliberately introduce the issues gender roles play in our society. I believe that the role the of the Wife of Bath in the tale was purposely written by Chaucer to twist the traditional gender roles of the time, satirizing how gender plays in society.
that he never went to hell (272). She clearly valued sex as the most important attribute of a husband for, “…in our bed he was so fresh and gay….Heaven knows whenever he wanted it- my belle chose-, thought he had beaten me in every bone…”(272) Even though her final husband had beaten her, because he was good in bed with her she felt she loved him the best of them all (272). Clearly, The Wife of Bath valued three things in her marriages, sex, power, and money. In her tale we find that power is an important role to women in marriage. A knight, after raping a women is spared by a queen (282) but in order to save his life, he has one year (283) to find, “What is the thing that women most desire”(282)? After searching, he finds no answer but on his way home finds an old women who promises she will save him, he must promise to do what she asks of him after however, and he agrees (285). When he and the old lady meet with the queen, he exclaimed, “A women want’s the self-sovereignty over her husband as over her lover, and master him; he must not be above her” (286). This answer is perfectly inline with The Wife of Baths views, she always wants to be more powerful than her husband. When the old lady says he must marry her, he protests but soon she offers him two choices, he can have her be old and ugly till she dies, but loyal, or she can be young and pretty and take chance that she might not remain faithful (291). He gives his answer to be that she may choose, thus giving her the
The Canterbury Tales depict many characters that, although fictionally created by Geoffrey Chaucer, may give the reader the opportunity to analyze and interpret their tales as a way of determining their personalities. The Wife of Bath and her prologue accurately supports this statement, as her intentions become expounded due to her questionable actions. The Wife of Bath exhibits in her prologue that she lacks respect and gratitude towards the men she beguiles into marriage and does so by falsely claiming direction from God. She shows not only deceit towards her many husbands, but also does not possess the ability to care about others before herself.
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 Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem The Canterbury Tales a young Chaucer tells of the people he meets on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett in Canterbury. One of the most vivacious characters on the pilgrimage is The Wife of Bath. Both the Wife of Bath’s prologue and tale share a common theme of a woman’s control in a relationship with a man. The Wife of Bath and the old hag in her tale share a similar perspective on what women want most in life. In the prologue and tale the reader is exposed to the idea that what women most desire in life is to have control over their husbands and lovers. This tale and its prologue are linked through the way that Dame Alice, the Wife of Bath, fashions the old hag in her tale after herself.
The Wife of Bath’s Tale in the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a very pivotal point in the text. It argues in favor of feminine dominance in marriage in a time where women were always under the skeptical view. The leading example of the medieval skeptical view of women is St. Jerome’s response against Jovinian. It shows how women were more restricted than men and thought to be in the fault for the wrong things that happen to them. Chaucer opposes that stereotype by introducing the Wife of Bath, a very radical character just like the other characters in the Canterbury Tales. The Wife is a very outspoken feminist and justifies her decision to remarry four times. She uses St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and other arguments to undermine the traditional antifeminism arguments, such as St. Jerome’s, against her remarriages.
The Wife of Bath 's Prologue and Tale is about female empowerment it shows strong protagonists. I believe Geoffrey Chaucer used The Wife of Bath’s Tale to advocate for feminism. Chaucer used a strong female character to expose female stereotypes. It was an oppressive time for women in male-dominated society. During the Middle Ages, Chaucer wrote from a woman’s point of view something that was not normal at that time. He set his feminist ideals through the characters of the Wife of Bath and the old woman. He used subtle methods like humor to show his ideals. During Chaucer’s time nobody was used to the idea of women being equal to men, this idea did not exist. Chaucer expressed his ideas in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale by being one of the first to understand and acknowledge a women’s struggle in society, through this tale he shows the difference between men and women and their positions of power. In the Wife of Bath’s Tale, feminism is showed by the knight recognizing and listening to his wife. Chaucer is a feminist for his time because he used humor to mask his unpopular ideas he used these characters to voice his opinions.
During this time, too, as it still does when the Wife tells it, people judge by nobility rather than character. In the story, the old woman rebukes the knight thoroughly, saying things such as, “Find who is always the most virtuous, privately and publicly, and who always tries hardest to do what noble deeds he can, and consider him a nobleman” (233). In reading Wife’s story, one can almost see her listeners glancing askance at eachother, realizing that they are as guilty as the knight. Throughout time and space, one principle is true: a person can only be defined by his true character, evidenced by his actions.
In the Canterbury Tales, the character known as the Wife of Bath is described by Chaucer as a very free-living and courageous women. In the time of the Middle Ages, compared to men, women had little to no rights in many different settings such as in daily abor and especially in education. In fact, this unfairness lasted until 1920, where the fight for Women’s Suffrage was present. Although, unlike the women of the early twentieth century, the Wife of Bath simply didn't fight for rights, she just went along with what she had. We can tell that Chaucer uses many details to describe the Wife of Bath through her fortune, her interest in sexual activity, and her many journeys to distant lands.
Wealth and property feature heavily in the wife’s portrayal of marriage and along with the issue of her independence is responsible for many of her marital conflicts. The first three husbands "riche and olde" were married each for "hir land and hir tresoor" then discarded as the Wife looks for other prospects. When one of these husbands tries to restrict the Wife’s spending she refuses to let him be both "maister of my body and of my good" so refuses sexual favours in return for her freedom as she will not become a mere possession. She generalizes that women "love no man that taketh or keepth charge" suggesting an element of independence and individualism in 14th century marriage. The wife resents being controlled; she
Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath Prologue and Tale” focus on the story telling of a woman who has experienced her fair share of marital issues. She is depicted as a promiscuous woman, married five times and had plenty of male suitors, the Wife was not like any other woman during this era. Although her reputation was how most perceived her, she was not a fan of being scrutinized for what she considered as her duty as a woman; to not remain single. This is seen through the depiction of women in society, how marriage ought to be in the eyes of religion, and how men were to view a woman like her. The language that is used throughout Chaucer’s prologue and tale allude to the evolution of women as well as how they struggled to gain any recognition in
In The Canterbury tales, Chaucer uses The Wife of Bath as a representation of what it was like for Women in the Middle Ages to be striped of equality and bow to the otherwise male dominated society. For the representation of women Chaucer uses the Tales of “The Scholar”, “The Second Nun “The Reeve’s”, and “The Franklin” and many others in a very dry, pretentious manner to steer readers into the view of how a women of the Middle Ages should be as a so called “virtuous” wife or woman. The concept of marriage plays a major part in manifesting the idea of the issues of inferiority of women. The perception rendered as women having to be obedient and inferior figure to their husbands or male counter parts. Chaucer
The Wife of Bath, emphasizing “The Prologue of the Wife of Bath’s Tale” and the “The Prologue” in Geoffrey Chaucer 's Canterbury Tales, is an example of the Middle English concept that male authors reflect misogynistic ideals of society onto female characters.With the Wife of Bath, she is a fictional character, as told by Chaucer, going on a Pilgrimage, with constant ridicule for her sexuality and multiple marriages. Chaucer portrays her as a previously battered wife who uses her sexual promiscuity as a way of control. He uses his progressive views to give the Wife of Bath power, but also reflects societal views from the period through responses and actions taken during her life. Although the abilities of women progressed in the Middle
The investigation into whether or not Geoffrey Chaucer was ahead of his time in terms of his views on feminism has been up for debate for hundreds of years. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue is just one solitary