The Wife of Bath recognizes that the key to survival for a fourteenth century woman is marriage, as shown in her having had five husbands and being married at the age of twelve. The Wife of Bath is also not what a wife should be. She torments her husbands by denying them sex until she gets what she wants, which is land and money. When she does sleep with them, it always means "nothing," but for the older husbands it means their lives (Chaucer 224). The Wife of Bath, in her mind, has the right to deny sex because it is she who hold the "'power of his body' not he" (Chaucer 223).
Women like the Wife of Bath, who were tired of being scared into virginity, began to "contradict many of the old oppressive customs and assert their own overbearing assessment of the roles of women in society and in relationships" (Blake). Alison sees no point in virginity because if "Lord God had commanded maidenhood, He'd have condemned all marriage as no... ... middle of paper ... ...ity in 'The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.'" Johnathan Blake. 6 Nov 1998 Luminarium. 12 Dec 01 Brault, Gerard J.
Taking the prospective as an outsider, it seems like she recognizes the vision as a Godly one, but then forgets all she has priorly discovered as a satanic craziness within herself. This to me seems to be going against what she has been trying to prove. In order to prove God’s presence on the next level, she gets guidance from a friend whom God put in her life. Even though Teresa is an authority figure and should be believed, she didn’t trust herself. I see her act of asking for advice from her confessor and saint friend, as adding more power to her reliability of her saying that God revealed himself in her visions.
There were many anti-feminist feelings due to Eve causing the fall of Man. Women were perceived to be responsible for most of the suffering to man, and were therefore inferior and to be dominated by their husbands and men in general. “The courtly lady of medieval poetry has much in common with the images of the Virgin” (Martin xiv). Chastity, purity, and holiness, were all associated with the expectations of women from role models such as the Virgin Mary type-cast women into a saintly role. Because women were thought to have caused so much suffering on behalf of mankind, they were to be controlled, held in check and not exhibit any outward signs of defiance or concern for themselves.
The Wife of Bath explains that wife is no victim; rather, she is a perpetrator of the kind of marriages she has had. She is an active agent in her decisions to marry and use sex to propagate wealth. Her passion of sex makes us understand she endured sex with her first three husbands because they were old. Moments in The Wife of Bath’s Prologue suggest that while the Wife does not marry for love, she is unhappy in her marriages. The lack of love, however, does not mean that she is unsatisfied with her choices to be with those men.
She briefly addressed the issue of having children and the role of women. Williams’ family, for the most part was very supportive of her book. It was met, however, with some criticism from Mormon academic journals, disapproving of her defiance towards the church. In an interview Williams said, “that obedience in the name of religion or patriotism ultimately takes our souls. So I think it's this larger issue of what is acceptable and what is not; where d... ... middle of paper ... ...mately takes our lives.” She is consistently but subtly challenging the orthodoxy of Mormonism.
The Assertive and Vulnerable Wife of Bath Society was different in Chaucer's time; males dominated and women were suppressed. The manipulative and destructive nature of women was emphasized by men. Much like Eve in the Bible, women were blamed for the 'downfall of man'. Through the Wife of Bath, Chaucer investigates the difficulty of self-realization for a woman in this restrictive environment. The wife of bath, Alison, represents antifeminist stereotypes and searches for happiness and a place in a patriarchal society.