The Wife of Bath apparently attempts to emphasize female dominance over men. She contradicts many of the harsh customs and declares her own haughty assessment of women’s function in society and in relationships. In the story, Chaucer explains that what women want is sovereignty over their husbands. According to the tale, women desire to be treated as masters over their love. The story also suggests that
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 is referring to one of Aesop's fables about who was superior in the relationship. It was argued with a reference to a picture of man having authority over the lion, and then the lion responds with an obvious truth. Since man had painted the picture, of course it would be presented that way. If the lion had painted the picture, the circumstances would have been different. What the Wife of Bath is saying is that since men established the dynamics of the male/female relationship, women are unable to change the image. Had control been in the hands of women from the start, they would be in control of relationships.
The Wife of Bath thinks that the thing which women most desire is power over their husbands and in the prologue, she tells how she got the upper hand with each of them. She states, “bridle over to my hand, gave me the government of house and land, of tongue and fist, indeed of all he’d got” (280). The Wife of Bath has control over all her five husbands and is only happy when she has dominance over her partners. It is seen both in the tale and Wife of Bath’s prologue when kight returns to the castle and he states, “A women wants the self-same sovereignty* not be above her” (286). In both situations, power and sovereignty is the only topic being talked about and Wife of Bath thinks that the control of marriage should be given to the women, both financially and
She believes that women should have absolute power over their marriage. Sovereignty is one of her significant values. Throughout the tale it is apparent that the storyteller still has those same beliefs. During the knight’s quest to acquire the answer, he finds an old lady. This older woman holds the answer he had been searching for. She will tell him the solution if, he promises her one thing. He is to do as she says, if she is ever to need anything. After presenting the answer that the old lady gave him, his life was spared. As a result the old lady asks the knight to marry her. Disgust filled the knight however, he had no choice. In this case the older woman had the power over the knight. The knight had to abide by her request. His negative attitude towards the old lady does not go unnoticed. A preposition if then offered to the knight. The old lady can stay old and loyal or become beautiful and treacherous. Power is rooted in the woman and not the man. The knight has the choice but no sense of ability to change her. The Wife of Bath’s made it clear that she believed women should be in command. It is decided that the old lady will turn beautiful and remain
Lastly, The Wife of Bath’s Tale is wronged because it goes against the idea of patriarchy. Patriarchy goes all the way back to Aristotle who said that there was a pyramid of life; gods on top, the men, and last women and whatever was left. Women, back then, were to obey their husbands, and if they didn’t their husbands were allowed to beat some sense into them to put them back in line. With that information comes the Wife of Bath who stands up in front of the group and explains how she would trick her husbands and proved that she was just as smart, maybe even smarter. Moving onto her tale which also has to do with a woman tricking a man. In the tale a knight is set on a journey to find out what women want. While on his journey he comes in contact with an old lady who makes a deal with him; if he does what
This statement demonstrates that the role of women, such as The Wife of Bath’s, was to be a dominant leader of the marriage. She describes her husband as her slaves and debtor,
Beginning with the prologue, the Wife of Bath makes an argument for why she believes sexuality is the key weapon to use against men to achieve her goals. Doing such, she twists the typical gender roles of the time; that women are dependent upon their husbands and need a partner for protection and wealth. The Wife also shows in her stories how she was able to falsely accuse men and continuously hold the upper hand with them, which goes against traditional gender roles of the time of women being helpless without a husband.
The Wife of Bath's greedy need for complete control over men reflects in most of her actions. She seems proud of this, and constantly describes women as cruel creatures that bring great sorrow to men. When talking about her first three husbands, she says that she "governed them" (193), and "chided them cruelly" (193). She makes life for her husbands a living hell, having no respect for their feelings. Just like the women questioned in her story, she cares only for "riches...amusement...rich apparel...," to be "flattered and pampered," and for "pleasure in bed" (225). When talking of her first three marriages, she says: "Since they had given me all their land, why should I take pains to please them, unless it be for my own profit and pleasure" (192). In her story, the moral is that all women want to hold the whip in a relationship, and it is in the man's best interest to let them do so. The Wife of Bath is not a woman to be admired and, worst of all, she insists all
In "The Wife of Bath's Tale", sovereignty is the major subject that is dealt with in the marriage situation. The knight, in search of the correct answer of what women most desire in life, stumbles upon an old hag with the answer. In exchange for the answer, the knight is forced to marry the woman. The woman desires sovereignty over her husband, which is selfish and inconsiderate.
The many references to emotional physical interaction between men and women was how the Wife of Bath justifies her marriages. She did what she needed to do for survival and get what she wanted for herself.
When reading the wife of Baths prologue and then her tale one can not help but to see the parallels present. The major parallel that exists is the subject of sovereignty. Who has it, which wants it, which deserves it and what will you do to get it? First we see that the Wife claims to have sovereignty over each of her husbands even though some were harder to gain dominance over than others. Then there is the tale where we find the answer to the question, “What do women want?”, sovereignty over their husbands. Finally we see the Wife’s idealized version of marriage in her tale. The hag gains control over the knight by forcing him to marry her, then giving him control to decide
Women from the beginning of time have been determined to make their mark in the world of a "so-called" man 's world. Women believed they deserved the right to express their opinions about family matters as well as business affairs. The women in Beowulf and The Wife of Bath Tale have different issues, however they are for all the same reason: be heard by the power dominating sex. In the eighth century men were thought of as being superior to women. In the fourteenth century women played roles that made them feel superior over males. Both poems illustrate how women were used as symbols by powerful men to support their nobility. The opposing dynamics of the feeble women in Beowulf
In the Wife of Bath’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, various women, such as the Queen and the old hag, stake their claim to authority over men. Yet, they do so in a very covert manner. The knight has clearly abused his male power. He is a rapist. With the help of women, however, he is rehabilitated and seems to achieve the ultimate happiness. When these women support the feminist viewpoint that women should have mastery over their husbands, they are also echoing the sentiments the Wife of Bath presents in her prologue. Yet, these women abandon mastery the moment they attain it. The old hag relinquishes mastery back to her husband immediately after he grants it to her,
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The wife of bath’s Prologue and Tale, it is one of the many Canterbury tales that can bring us awareness of the women’s role in the middle ages. Even though Alisoun, who is the wife of bath is a female traveling with a group of men; she still manages to hold her own ground. She tells thr men in order to have a great