Anti-Feminist Rhetoric in The Wife Of Bath
In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, The Wife of Bath is a strong woman who loudly states her opinions about the antifeminist sentiments popular at the time. Chaucer, however, frequently discredits her arguments by making them unfounded and generally compromising her character. This brings into question Chaucer's political intent with the Wife of Bath. Is he supportive of her views, or is he making a mockery of woman who challenge the patriarchal society and its restriction and mistrust of women? The Wife's comedic character, frequent misquoting of authorities, marital infidelity, and her (as well as Chaucer's) own antifeminist sentiments weaken the argument that Chaucer supported of the Wife's opinions.
Chaucer chooses to make a comedy of the Wife, putting into question the seriousness of her character. What opinion is the reader to make of a woman who rants about marriage and female domination when she is described as a clown prepared for battle in the General Prologue ? Her bright red stockings, bold scarlet face, shield-like hat and sharp spurs draw the picture of a silly, if not crazy, woman whose manner is larger than life. The Wife's comical 'larger than life' characteristics apply to her feminist beliefs as well. Equal coexistence is not enough; she says men "shall be bothe my dettour and my thral "-something likely unheard of when this piece was written. Much of what makes her comical is the plethora of sexual innuendoes dispersed throughout her dialogue. For instance, when she irrelevantly mentions in her tale the eager friars that have
replaced the fairies of old:
Wommen may go saufly up and down:
In every bussh or under every tree,
Ther is n...
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... easily state Chaucer's support of the Wife's opinions, it is important to note the disabling of her arguments and credibility, as it brings into serious question Chaucer's intent with the Wife of Bath.
Wife's Prologue, 161
Wife's Tale, 884
Wife's Prologue, 585
M.H. Abrams, et al; ed., The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition, Volume I. W.W. Norton & Company, New York/London, 1993.
Wife's Prologue, 149
Wife's Prologue, 186-9
Wife's Prologue, 4
General Prologue, 465-70
Wife's Prologue, 563
Wife's Prologue, 549-68
Wife's Prologue, 44-6
Wife's Prologue, 233-4
Wife's Prologue, 540-4
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Ed Mack, Maynard et al. W. W. Norton and Co. New York, NY. 1992.
Julia Alvarez’s In the time of the Butterflies has been pivotal in relaying the stories of the Mirabal sisters as it has shown impact in literature, history, film production, and volunteer activities while serving a teaching aspect and a guide for those who may relate.
Inevitably, her escape was against her father’s wish as he believed that she would not be capable of successfully making through this trip by herself. However, she shows autonomy after being left alone by a guardian set up by her father, half way through the journey, she was able to, she was able to fix this situation on her own. With minimal help, she makes it to the cottagers defining that she set her own path for the continuity of her life. This independence is also expressed in such ways where she teaches herself social and language aspects of the cottagers. She did not rely on Felix to help her make it through this new life. Therefore, giving herself the freedom to educate herself in order to survive in this new
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In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, an eclectic mix of people gathers together at Tabard Inn to begin a pilgrimage to Canterbury. In the General Prologue, the readers are introduced to each of these characters. Among the pilgrims are the provocative Wife of Bath and the meek Pardoner. These two characters both demonstrate sexuality, in very different ways. Chaucer uses the Wife and the Pardoner to examine sexuality in the medieval period.
Chaucer's Use of the Female Gender to Shape His Text with Reference to Wife of Bath
Chaucer details of society in that day in age, as well as, his detailed information of the Wife of Bath encompassed values in which women still admire today. Women still seek to have a more powerful role in society, even though still today there is a struggle to reach the top. Still today, the perfection you bring to your personal appearance gets your farther in life. Finally, when the reliance in the Bible and how still to this day church and state combine ideas, having a knowledge of the stories in the Bible shows a woman that is full of morals, values, and a good standard of living. Because of all of this, the Wife of Bath showed many sides of herself that may be hard to believe but yet still the backbone of all of it, is what most women try to do with their lives: be stable, powerful, happy, beautiful, and good morals.
In the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, which included a progressive view of women's concerns in "The Wife of Bath." During a time when women were still considered chattel existing almost exclusively to produce heirs, Chaucer takes a stand on issues affecting women that were not commonly given consideration. Writing in the first person, Chaucer is able to describe life from the viewpoint of a woman. Through this style, Chaucer addresses subject matter that would have been too candid for a female writer during his time period. By writing "The Wife of Bath" in a satirical way, Chaucer points out issues facing women regarding double standards, the validity of female desire, and the economic necessity of women to marry well while keeping the text humorous with some common female stereotypes regarding deception that have persisted into present day culture.
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Hilary Schor’s article, “If He Should Turn to and Beat Her” has pioneered a new wave of thinking regarding Estella’s characterization. At first glance, Estella is seen as a cold and distant character, much like an evening star offers beauty to be admired without any true warmth. However, Schor’s interpretation of the novel
Geoffrey Chaucer used his characters in Canterbury Tales as a way to illustrate stereotype of medieval society. The Wife of Bath, one of the pilgrims in Canterbury Tales demonstrates an authoritative role in marriage The Wife of Bath’s unusual behavior and attitudes can be interpreted by two motives: feminist ideals or sexual indulgence. When considering feminist viewpoints, it can be concluded that the Wife of Bath’s behavior is motivated by sexual indulgence.
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