Chaucer obviously had very opinionated views of the manners and behaviours of women and expressed it strongly in The Canterbury Tales. In his collection of tales, he portrayed two extremes in his prospect of women. The Wife of Bath represented the extravagant and lusty woman where as the Prioress represented the admirable and devoted followers of church. Chaucer delineated the two characters contrastingly in their appearances, general manners, education and most evidently in their behaviour towards men. Yet, in the midst of disparities, both tales left its readers with an unsolved enigma.
In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chaucer opens describing twenty-nine people who are going on a pilgrimage. Each person has a dissimilar personality that we can recognize from the way people behave today. He creates The Wife of Bath to stand out more compared to the other characters that are involved in these stories. In Chaucer’s “General Prologue,” the Wife of Bath was described as a woman who was intentionally described in an obvious way to provoke a shocking response. The Wife carries a lot of experience with things; she is a worldly person and has experience in the ways of the world in a sense of love and sex.
One women, named Aldonca de Vargas, was even reported just for smiling at the mention of the Virgin Mary (Henry Kamen, Inquisition and Society in Spain) (2). Once a women was accused of witchcraft she would first have to confess in order to be executed. The torturing of accused women was so unbelievably horrid and sadistic that you would think a man of low standing would be the one to carry it out, but sadly it was the men of educated positions suc... ... middle of paper ... ...ld become prime suspects of witchcraft.? (Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History)(2). In one complete sentence Helen was able to sum up women?s early medical knowledge and their ability to care for one another.
Her manner of telling the tale reflected her nerve to declare that she had two bad husbands and even warned the pardoner about her expertise. Words such as “to touch in bed or a couch”, “purging urine”, and expressing her stand on virginity, purity, and justifying why a woman can marry when widowed all signified her daring
The author describes her in such ravishing splendor that the reader can imagine how hard it would be to resist her advances. The hag by her side is also introduced here as a direct contrast to the lady. In this way, the lady's and the hag's respective physical characteristics are further enhanced by the presence of each other. Similar to other stories written in this period, the hag in this story has magical elements that are not revealed until much later. The lady of the castle comes to Gawain only after dinner and prayers are attended to by herself and her lord for she "Longed to look on the knight"(Norton, 222).
It seems that her purpose of her pilgrimage is more for adventure and social communication than for religious reasons. The Wife of Bath is considered a sensual character because women during the Medieval era demonstrated proper manners and etiquette, which she seemed to lack. She prowls after men for sexual pleasure and wealth. She is not ashamed to info... ... middle of paper ... ...ng he struck her with one of the books causing her to go deaf in one ear. Being the stubborn woman that she is she refused to leave and instead struck him back.
Numerous people have criticized her for having had many husbands, but she does not see anything immoral about it. Most people established negative views on her marriages, based on the interpretation of what Christ meant when he told a Samaritan woman that her fifth husband was not her husband. To support her situation, the Wife introduced a key figure that had multiple wives: King Solomon. She learned how to provide for herself in a society where women had very little sovereignty and authority by gaining control over her husbands. Of her five husbands, the first three were “good” and the other two were “bad.” The first three were good because they were old, wealthy, and obedient.
The Wife of Bath is the most criticized pilgrims, and Chaucer shows her as an anti-feminist, using her to show a male’s point of view on women (Dominick 8), which is why she is portrayed as seductive. George Kittredge explained that each of the tales of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales are not just tales that are grouped together, but rather the reflections of the character’s personality (Dominick 2). The Wife of Bath and Doctor are compared, as the Wife of Bath is a symbol of feminine sexuality and women’s power, which is corrected by The Clerk’s Tale, which is over the patient
Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales is Geoffrey Chaucer's greatest and most memorable work. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses "a fictitious pilgrimage [to Canterbury] as a framing device for a number of stories" (Norton 79). In "The General Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes in detail the pilgrims he meets in the inn on their way to Canterbury. Chaucer is the author, but also a character and the narrator, and acts like a reporter to provide a detailed description of the pilgrims. Through his description, the reader is able to paint a picture of each of the characters.
Without a doubt, women have fallen victim to an untrue, religious tale from the beginning of time, and the poem is an outcry representing the suffering of women throughout history. Stevie Smith blames Genesis 3 by holding it responsible in history for cruelty. She openly states in her poem that the story of Eve must be held accountable for all the suffering women had to endure: "Ah what cruelty, In history What misery" (Smith ll.9-11). Furthermore, the author communicates her message very powerfully through the use of dictio... ... middle of paper ... ...stioned is rhetorical, suggesting persuasiveness to the fact that the story is meaningless except to discriminate and make miserable the targeted gender. Undoubtedly, Stevie Smith's accusations towards the biblical story of Eve show how women have been victims of despair and suffering.