The Wife of Bath, Dame Alice is quite a spiteful woman even though she desires only a few simple things in life; power and control. Through her prologue and tale, she makes mirror images of herself , which reflects the person who she really is. Dame Alice desires the obvious in life, but what she most desires above all is being more powerful than her man, her spouse, and her lover. In a relationship, she wishes to be dominant, the one who has the last to say, the one who has control over all things in the relationship. This can be first seen in her prologue, "I'll have a husband yet who shall be both my debtor and my slave and bear his tribulation to the grave upon his flesh, as long as I'm his wife.
The wife uses the kind... ... middle of paper ... ...e struggle for power. She feels women should solely have maistrie over their husbands in marriage. As she does not believe they can be equal partners in the relationship in terms of power. In order to justify her actions, the wife uses her prologue and 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.
However, later, in her "Tale" the Wife of Bath presents another opinion - women wish to have emotional power over their husbands as well. The fact that the hag is able to decide for herself whether to turn into a beautiful wife or to remain in her present state, manifests her power over the husband. It is up to her whether to make the knight the happiest men on earth or to make him miserable for as long as she lives:
She explains more than anything, the thing women desire the most is the position to have complete dominance over their husbands. In the prologue, she talks about how she talks about how she succeeded in all her marriages. During Chaucer’s time, women were classified as closely the character of a monster. They were not allowed to participate in church and were characterized as unsuitable. Being that the wife of bath was married more than once, people have begun to sense suspect; because back in Chaucer’s time, if a woman was to be married for the second time was deemed untrustworthy.
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.
If a woman was not married, then the needs of her father were attended by her. Higher class women did childbearing and household supervision and if their man was away for business she would manage their estate giving up her power as soon as he retuned. Women in Canterbury Tales had a bit of a different role which was to break free from a man’s dominance in a secretive unnoticed way, and provide faithful and loyal devotion and love to a man and his decisions. Such a beautiful woman should be treated and taken care of, for the one she lay with now may no... ... middle of paper ... ...women most desire is to “hold complete sovereignty over her husband”(http://www.grommersoft.com/content/view/191/43/). They do not want to be seen as a toy you play with for one day and put away when she not wanted.
During this time, he seen the woman in her natural form and realize that he understood that all women want is control and power over their husbands. When it was time to step in front of the council he said “Women desire to have sovereignty as well over their husbands as their loves, and to be in mastery them above” (Chaucer. Page 704, lines 1043-1046). This answer was brought in front of the Judge granted him life. Later on in the tale his wife gave him an option to stay an old hag during the day and become a beautiful woman at night or become a hag at night and during the day become a beautiful woman.
The old hag, likewise, gains control over her husband when the knight places her in the governing position and yet again as seen in the Wife of Bath's Prologue, the knight must consent to give up this power in order for the old hag to acquire it, for if he had not given her control of the partnership, both would have continued unhappily. Subsequently, a second relationship between the prologue and the tale is the description of both the old hag and the Wife of Bath, at least physically concerned. The Wife of Bath describes herself as old and lethargic, "But age, allas, that al wol envenime, Hath me biraft my beautee and my pith." (Chaucer: line 481-482). Although the physical description of Dame Alice is not as unpleasant as the portrait of the old woman, there is notable mimicry between the two women.
In a relationship, she wishes to be the dominant of the two. The one who has the last say. The one who is in control and decides all of the matters in the relationship. This is shown in her tale when the knight fulfills his task to her. "'...a women wants the self-same sovereignty over her husband and her lover.
She told him that women desire to have the sovereignty and to rule over their husbands. The knight was pardoned when he gave the queen his answer but he was bound by his promise to the old woman. The old woman realized his unhappiness with their marriage and gave him a choice. He can either have her as a wife old and ugly, but humble and devoted, or young and fair, but independent. He chooses to give her independence.