The Wife of Bath, also named Alison, begins her tale by establishing her credibility through outlining her five marriages. She says, “If there were no authority on earth / Except experience, mine, for what it’s worth, / And that’s enough for me, all goes to show / That marriage is a misery and a woe” (276). Already, she slanders the role of marriage in the interest of being a woman. Through her marriages, she finds the union to be a misery. She further goes on to establish the idea of a “knowing woman.” By painting the picture that there is this ideal and intelligent woman who gets her wa...
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...for her aid in his quest. She has power over him, proving women can play the dominate role in relationships. The moral of the story not only reveals the true desire of a woman, but the consequent happiness of both man and woman if the man submits to her desires.
Chaucer’s forward thinking may have set the tone for feminists of the future. The Wife of Bath exhibits a thought process that is ahead of her time. In the twenty first century, authors and readers alike are still struggling with presenting a woman as both her own entity as well as an important role in a relationship. Both the concepts and the way they are presented within the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale offer a unique view of women—one of power and authority, of sexuality and confidence, of wit and womanhood.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. New York: Penguin Books, 1951. Print.
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