Essay on The Wife of Bath as a Feminist

838 Words4 Pages
The Wife of Bath’s Tale features a character that seemed to resemble a feminist. But in Chaucer’s time, feminism was thought to be abnormal and the pilgrims reacted negatively towards her for it, but The Wife of Bath had no shame about displaying herself as she really was. She was not ashamed of the fact that she had been married five times, and was about to marry again and she hid nothing.
The prologue of this tale showed that the Wife of Bath was not seen as an upstanding woman, nor did she desire to be seen as one. She portrayed feminism, almost as soon as she began speaking in the prologue, she explained that she had gone through five husbands, and she was on the look out for a sixth. She also admitted that she married for money:
…show more content…
She would even trade sexual favors for gifts from them. She would end this by satisfying her husband's desire: love…”Yet he felt flattered in his heart because, he thought it showed how fond of him I was” (Bath 267). It was all a game to her.
How much of a difference was it that the Wife was not even beautiful? "'...I was forty then, to tell the truth. But still I always had a coltish tooth. Yes I'm gap tooth, it suits me well...(Bath 274) '" The Wife when describing herself says she was old and ugly. Her bright clothes and detailed cover chiefs are fake rather than graceful. Her hat is as broad as a small shield. Her clothes are of good quality "fine scarlet reed" and her shoes are "moist and new." She did this to advertise herself and her wealth. The Wife of Bath also made it known that she was not solo on this philosophy. She also believed that women, if they know what’s good for them, could lie twice as well as men can and that all women basically behave the way she does.
She was not only physically ugly, but she did not treat her husbands with respect or dignity either. She would beat her husbands, if she felt the need to. If she in return would get beaten, she would gain some love for her husbands. In fact her fifth husband, Johnny, routinely beat her, and she loved and respected him most of all, “He struck me, still can ache, along my row of ribs…but…I think I loved him best, I’ll tell no lie.”
Get Access