The Wife of Bath Essay

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In The Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath gives an in-depth look on her life and understanding on the world as she perceives it. During her Prologue, we learn that what she calls experience stems from her first three marriages, but during her last two there is a shift in power. The Wife of Bath demonstrates her understanding and power throughout her first three marriages both physically and emotionally and the contrast of her lack of control in her last two, thus revealing the true meaning behind what she believes is experience during these marriages. The Wife of Bath’s authority can be viewed as realist when paralleled to the chain of being because of the emotional control she has over her previous husbands and the simple fact that she …show more content…
The integration of Chaucer’s dual persona is important in showing her immediate appearance and how her character develops in her Prologue and Tale.
The Wife of Bath begins the Prologue declaring, “Experience, though noon auctoritee / Were in this world, is right ynogh for me / To speke of wo that is in mariage" (GP 1-3). She had her first marriage at the age of twelve, an important key in Chaucer’s usage of age to show how it affects the amount of control one can have in a relationship. She also gives a brief explanation of why she marries these five men by saying “Blessed be God, that I have wedded fyve; / (Of whiche I ... the beste, / Bothe of here nether purs and of here cheste.)” (WP 44-46) By saying this, the Wife makes it known that throughout her marriages that money and sex have been important factors. It is in her Prologue that she begins to use biblical allusions. She mentions King Solomon and Abraham, justifying her five marriages by saying that many of the religious greats had several wives. By comparing herself to these religious figures, Allison wants to make it clear that she has enough authority to dictate the validity of marriage. This authority was given to her by God just as it was given to the fathers of Christianity, and in addition to being blessed with authority she was given sexuality. There is a spiritual connection between
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