Chaucer's View of Women Exposed in The Canterbury Tales

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Often, the most memorable female characters are those who break out of the stereotypical “good wife” mold. When an author uses this technique effectively, the woman often carries the story. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, he portrays the Wife of Bath, Alison, as a woman who bucks the tradition of her times with her brashness and desire for control. Chaucer effectively presents a woman's point of view and evokes some sympathy for her. In the author's time, much of the literature was devoted to validating the frailties of women. However, in this story, the Wife is a woman who has outlived four of five husbands for “of five housbodes scoleying” (P50) is she. She holds not her tongue, and says exactly what she thinks, even if she contradicts others, even Jesus. For in the Bible it states that Jesus “Spak in repreve of the Samaritan:/‘Thou hast yhad five housbondes,' quod he,/‘And that ilke man that now hath thee/Is nat thyn housbonde'” (P16). Despite this quote from the holy writ, the Wife states that ther are no other arguments “Eek wel I woot he [Jesus] saide that myn housbonde/Sholde lete fader and moder and take me,/But of no nombre mencion made he [Jesus]--/Of bigamye or of octagamye” (P30). She maintains her position and dismisses the one contention in the Bible by stating in relation to the above quote “Wat that he mente therby [she] can nat sayn,/But that I axe why the fifthe man/Was noon housbonde to the Samaritan?/How manye mighte she han in mar...
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