Women and Love In Chaucer

1988 WordsJun 19, 20188 Pages
Women and Love In Chaucer Chaucer's opinion of women and his views on love are very prominently featured in his poetry. Focusing on women, one must first examine the popular views concerning women during Chaucer's time. Arlyn Diamond writes of Chaucer that, ". . . he accepts uneasily the medieval view of women as either better or worse than men, but never quite the same." (Green 3) This is evident in Chaucer's portrayal of women in such poems as "The Wife of Bath" and "The Clerk's Tale" which assault the reader with antithetical views of women. The Wife of Bath is one of the most memorable characters Chaucer ever created. She is considered, in view of Diamond's statement, to be better than the men in her life. Patient Griselda…show more content…
He gives the choice back to her affirming that he now understands women. The reader can devise two key points from the tale. Primarily, Chaucer portrays a kind of pity for women in his writing. The rape at the start, a common occurrence at the time, is dealt with swiftly and with compassion for the victim; a rare occurrence at the time. Secondly he expresses his desire for equality between the sexes. He does this by showing the consequences that transpire when one sex has control over the other. "The Wife of Bath's Tale" is an example of female dominance. Chaucer's ideal of equality is more clearly seen after analyzing "The Clerk's Tale." This tale is completely antithetical to that of the Wife of Bath. Where her tale focuses on the dominance of women over men this one is dedicated to exposing the subservience of the medieval woman. The clerk tells a tale of a peasant woman, Griselda, who marries a nobleman, Walter. He devises cruel ordeals to put her through in order to test her loyalty. She is led to believe that her children are taken away and murdered. Walter rejects her, and apparently substitutes her with a younger, more beautiful woman. This is a cause of suffering for both women. Griselda is forced to stand aside while her children are torn away from her to be killed, and she is pushed away by her husband who replaces her quickly. Her replacement, actually her twelve-year-old daughter, is also caused suffering due to her situation. She has been
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