Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury tales a collection of short tales in the 14th century. The compilation of stories are told by different characters within the narrative as part of a game proposed by the host. Each individual must tell two stories on their journey and two stories on their way back. Each story tells some aspects of English life during the time and often added satire like qualities to the English life. In particular Chaucer often tells stories with elements of the relationship between man and women. He gives a clear representation of what the expected behaviors at the time are for men and women. Men are the more dominant, they control more of the relationship and provide for their wives, and the women are submissive and are supposed to do as they are told. However these elements are presented in Chaucer’s work he often takes a role reversal in his writings. Chaucer makes most of his female characters stronger and causes the roles to be reversed between man and women. The wife of bath tale is an excellent representation on how Chaucer demonstrates the role reversal between man and women.
The role of man and women where clearly defined during the 14th century. Women were thought to only serve minimal purposes. These included marriage, baring children, and pleasing her husband. Women were essentially treated without the rights that they have in current times. Most if not all marriages at the time of Chaucer’s life were arranged and the women who was to be wed had little to no say in choosing her husband. The man could gain consent to marry her through her parents no matter how much the women objected to the union. This is hinted in the wife of bath tale when our story teller says “forever since I was twelve yea...
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...rn home. Each story plays on the roles of people during the time that they are told. The stories range like the characters traveling do. One story sticks out in particular when it comes to the relationship between men and women during the time of Chaucer. This story is told by the character of Allison whom tells the story of the wife of bath. The story and prologue look at the life of Allison and her views of how relationships between man and wife should be. She believed that women should be the head of the relationship and that men should be submissive to them. This reflects in her story in many ways. Her views on how relationships should be was different than the one that would be normal for the time period in which Chaucer lived
Chaucer, Geoffrey, and David Wright. The Canterbury Tales. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.
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