Chaucer's Use of the Female Gender to Shape His Text with Reference to Wife of Bath

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Chaucer's Use of the Female Gender to Shape His Text with Reference to Wife of Bath

With reference to Chaucer's Wife of Bath, we can clearly see how Chaucer uses the female gender to shape his text. Chaucer uses the female gender to show the many chacteristics or traits a female may have. He shows this through the tale of the Wife of Bath and the female characters in the tale such as the old women. Chaucer hopes to give us an insight into a women's thought and desires.

The Wife of Bath tells the tale of a young knight whom, after the rape of a maiden, must search for the answer to the question, "what is it that women most desire?" The knight has one year to find the answer and return to King Arthur's court, or else he will be sentenced to death. The knight's journey does not go well. No matter where he goes or whom he asks, he does not get a good answer. As he approaches, they disappear leaving an old woman. She says that she has the answer to his question, but will only state it before the queen, and on the condition that he does whatever she asks of him. The knight agrees.

In the presence of the queen, the old woman says that what women desire most is sovereignty over their husbands. Nobody disagrees with her answer, and the old woman asks the knight to marry her. The knight agrees reluctantly.

On their wedding night, the knight is despondent over what he has gotten himself into. The old woman lectures him on the trivial nature of appearances, then gives the knight a choice; ugly and faithful or beautiful but unfaithful. The knight leaves the decision up to her. The old woman rewards him by giving him both.

There are many characteristics of the wife of bath that Chaucer uses to help shape the text. The wife of ...

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...ks at the marriage sacrament as a misery, however is still looking for her sixth husband. I feel Chaucer is showing how important the Wife of Bath needs a man in her life not only to control but also for her own personal fulfillment. Chaucer uses the female characters to show the type of lady that was trying to change her status but inside felt the same womanly feelings and emotions as any other. Although she wants to be in control over her husbands she realizes the importance of them in her life but is reluctant to emit this. Chaucer uses her clothes to show her strong-minded character. He takes the female gender and combines real character traits of most women a long with some more uncommon traits and places them in the female characters of this tale. The female charters Chaucer portrays help shape his texts whole message as well as opinions about this gender.

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