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A Pardoner Who Needs A Bath

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The dominance of men in the Middle Ages is unethical, irrational, and dangerous; women are given few rights and the opportunity to earn rights is non-existent. The dictates to the dominance is formed by the internal combination of man’s personal desire and religious interference. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales, the combined perspectives’ on a haughty Pardoner and non-subservient wife is the stronghold of separation in moral roles. The moral roles between men and women are exemplified in the rankings of religious hierarchy for men are at the top and women towards the bottom. Even prestigious women, ones with noble connections, are subservient to men, but contradictorily have religious affiliations. The “Wife of Bath’s Tale” is a perfect example of defying man’s dominance and the “Pardoner’s Tale”, a problematic reasoning of why selfishness connects moreover to the manipulation. The frailties of religious reasoning however, will cause The Pardoner and the Wife of Bath to be separated from society’s morals.

The image of the woman in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue is depicted by Chaucer to be “barley wheat” in a town and civilization lusting for whole white wheat or virginity (Chaucer 1711). The woman has married many men and in doing so forgotten the true value of the Christian faith and now believes worldly influence can overpower the scriptures of the Bible, “can you show in plain words that Almighty God forbade us marriage? Or where did he command virginity?” (Chaucer 1709). Jackie Shead analyzes the prologue and states, “it begins by manipulating authoritative texts--a pre-emptive strike to justify the Wife's marital history and her single-minded pursuit of self-gratification” (Shead). The possibility of the Wife of B...

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...us 75.1 (Jan. 1991): 150-159. Rpt. in Poetry Criticism. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 58. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

Shead, Jackie. "'The wife of bath's tale' as self-revelation: Jackie Shead discusses how far the Wife's Tale perpetuates the picture we have gained of her from her Prologue." The English Review Feb. 2010: 35+. General OneFile. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.

Toswell, M.J. "Chaucer's Pardoner, Chaucer's World, Chaucer's Style: Three Approaches to Medieval Literature." College Literature 28.3 (2001): 155. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

Williams, David. "Language Redeemed: 'The Pardoner's Tale,'." "The Canterbury Tales": A Literary Pilgrimage. Twayne Publishers, 1987. 53-100. Rpt. in Poetry for Students. Ed. Anne Marie Hacht. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.
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