Feminism In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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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. Feminists fight for the power of women in society. They believe this world is male dominated and woman must fight for power and gain control of men. The Wife of Bath fights for her power in her relationships. She begins her prologue by proclaiming that experience is the greatest authority. “Experience, even if there were no other authority in this world, would be grounds enough for me to speak …show more content…

When Alisoun says that a husband “shall be both my debtor and my thrall” (Chaucer 155), she means a husband should be a slave to his wife, does she mean in all aspects of a marriage or just sexually? Throughout the Wife of Bath’s prologue and tale, she consistently makes sexual references and her stories focus on sexuality: whether it be virginity, reproductive organs, or sex with her husband. “Tell me also, to what end were reproductive organs made?” (Chaucer 117). Alisoun believes that her husband owes her sex. “My husband shall have both evening and morning, whenever he wants to comeforth and pay his debt.’ (Chaucer 152-154). Alisoun gives her husband the freedom to choose when to pay his debt. This is ironic because she also claims “All through my life I have the power over his own body, and not he” (Chaucer 158-159). Although he chooses when he wants to pay his debt, Alisoun has all the power over his body, not him. She even withholds sex from her husband until he does what she wants. “Till he had made his ransom unto to me” (Chaucer

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