This character represents the virtuous and perfect things in which society bestows upon the women of this time, giving great power to beauty and fortune. Although these charac... ... middle of paper ... ...r Gawain and the Green Knight and Lanval are distant representations of real women in this time period. Society plays an important role in stereotyping women based on their good and evil nature as well as, their actions towards men. Even though this separation might sometimes be true, it is the perfect virgin that will always be a symbol of excellence and strength. The relationship between perfection and flaw is checkered throughout history, becoming a frequent comparison in many medieval works.
I want to explore the dynamic of gender roles in Arthurian Literature, namely in Tennyson’s Idylls, and how those gender roles have influenced the rise and fall of an era. Queen Guinevere is mentioned in many of the idylls in Idylls of the King. Her role through most of those times focuses on her role as an adulterer. The Queen is held above all else, she is the most noble, the most pure, the so called moral measuring stick that all other men hold to their own wives, and all other women hold themselves and each other to. However, the Queen has begun to forfeit that right.
The ideas of courtly love and chivalry are summarized in these stories. We see many instances where knights go out of their way to please their woman. Once a knight chooses his woman, she thought of as his chattel, or property. He can do what he pleases with her and she must listen to him or possibly be killed. He respects and loves her as long as she is loyal and faithful to him.
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 Wife of Bath shows such control in her prologue which summarizes her own life, the Queen in her tale who controls the knight, and the old hag in the tale who is able to manipulate the knight to achieve her desires. The women in the relationships exercise control over their husbands through sexual manipulation and guilt. Therefore, the Wife of Bath from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is a strong advocator of female maistrie within a marriage. The wife not only shares her opinions about maistrie with fellow travellers through her tale, but also proves her beliefs through her introduction.
This exploration of gender roles and the balance of power between women and the men that they control is subject to their ascribed classes and the relationships they hold. These women fall into two major categories: the autocratic and the dependent. The aristocratic “mothers” and dependent “daughters” of Fathers and Sons bring about the reevaluation of Bazarov and Arkady’s nihilistic beliefs and furthermore utilize their feminine qualities to manipulate the men in their lives. The aristocratic women or rather the “mothers” enjoy the benefits of wealth and high society and use their perspective abilities to influence men. These women portray three very different kinds of female roles.
Within such a relationship, the time that a man spends separated from his love leads to nothing but heartache. Yet, according to Marie de France, this is not the case for the woman. In Chevrefoil, Tristram becomes "distressed and downcast" when his uncle sends him away from his kingdom, and it is because of this separation from her that h... ... middle of paper ... ...n such as Megan Fox, and Scarlett Johansson, are perfect examples of how men still put women on pedestals. Marie de France could have been laying the early ground work for these iconic sex symbols in her writings. Women of this stature can easily control just about any man they desire.
The hag is by all accounts the idealized version of the wife of Bath. The Wife wants control over her husbands, and most likely does not get what she wants from every husband, and the hag gets what she wants from the beginning. Even though the Wife claims to have had sovereignty over her husbands she slips when telling her tale and informs us that she wishes an early death to those men whom do not let their wives gain suprem... ... middle of paper ... ... the tale truly mirrors the Wife’s own life the knight better watch his back of he to will be dead soon. The parallels that have been presented show that there are not just similarities in the tale and the Wife’s life, the prologue and the tale are the real and the ideal way that the Wife sees her world. She, like many women of her time and ours, wants control over her husbands and will do what it takes to gain it.
This is a common device used in medieval literature to create conflict between characters. "The Book of the Duchess" focuses on the real love between the Black Knight, and the White Woman. This allows Chaucer to explore the nature of love in context. Chaucer's Wife of Bath is a domineering woman who demands the men in her life to be subservient. The reader gains from her prologue that she is concerned with sovereignty, which she views as the control or mastery in the relationship.
This situation further illuminates medieval gender roles especially when examining the lady’s relationship with her husband. Even if he may use her as a sexual pawn, she is able to assert herself thought the tactics she uses to persuade Gawain to break his oath. She is also intrinsically linked with Morgan le Fay and pagan traditions. This bond is balanced by Gawain’s connection with Mary as a figure for guidance. The wife’s position in this story epitomizes the dualities of medieval society.