In conclusion, Chaucer confirms gender stereotypes of male that are supposed to behave according to chivalric code while he challenges stereotypes of female and discusses the true nature of women, especially from the perspective of idealism of pure women and anti-feminism against “wicked wives”. The interrogation of gender stereotypes in Chaucer’s tales reflects his understanding of the role of male and female in medieval society.
In a society, there are many different opinions on how a women figure is seen. These ideas have changed overtime with the progress of women bring consider equal to men. There are two ways a woman can be interpreted, one brings lower to the men and the other being equal to men. Women play an important role in shaping lives, directly or indirectly. The tales depicted in this book shows the reader the broader insight of how women were seen as in previous years. The different ideas of what women meant to men are seen in the tales told by the characters in the book, mostly the men. The perspective of a woman for a male and a female is different. If we were to compare two tales from each side, the opinion would only be in favour for the individual who is narrating the tale. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, the role of women is portrayed in two different ways, one
In the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, which included a progressive view of women's concerns in "The Wife of Bath." During a time when women were still considered chattel existing almost exclusively to produce heirs, Chaucer takes a stand on issues affecting women that were not commonly given consideration. Writing in the first person, Chaucer is able to describe life from the viewpoint of a woman. Through this style, Chaucer addresses subject matter that would have been too candid for a female writer during his time period. By writing "The Wife of Bath" in a satirical way, Chaucer points out issues facing women regarding double standards, the validity of female desire, and the economic necessity of women to marry well while keeping the text humorous with some common female stereotypes regarding deception that have persisted into present day culture.
In The Canterbury tales, Chaucer uses The Wife of Bath as a representation of what it was like for Women in the Middle Ages to be striped of equality and bow to the otherwise male dominated society. For the representation of women Chaucer uses the Tales of “The Scholar”, “The Second Nun “The Reeve’s”, and “The Franklin” and many others in a very dry, pretentious manner to steer readers into the view of how a women of the Middle Ages should be as a so called “virtuous” wife or woman. The concept of marriage plays a major part in manifesting the idea of the issues of inferiority of women. The perception rendered as women having to be obedient and inferior figure to their husbands or male counter parts. Chaucer gives give the audience much to think about in terms of The Wife of Baths being she is the total opposite to women of her time. The wife of Baths can be seen maternal figure that possess as a threat of breaking in the societal system by empowering the status of women.
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are filled with many entertaining tales from a variety of characters of different social classes and background. The first two tales told, by the knight and the miller, articulate very different perspectives of medieval life. Primarily, The tales of both the knight and the miller bring strikingly different views on the idea of female agency, and as we will discover, Chaucer himself leaves hints that he supports the more involved, independent Alison, over the paper-thin character of Emily.
In medieval England, society’s roles were dominated by men and women were either kept at home or doing labor work. Among the most famous medieval English literature, “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer, lies ‘The Wife of Bath's Prologue’ and ‘The Wife of Bath's Tale.’ Within, Chaucer shares his perspective of the Wife of Bath, the Queen, and the Crone. Through the use of symbolism and diction, Chaucer aims to change society’s expectations of women.
The Wife of Bath, one of the many characters in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, is a feminist of the fourteenth century. Chaucer, in the "General Prologue," describes her as promiscuous. The Wyf confirms this claim in the prologue to her tale, the longest in the book. An analysis of the "General Prologue" and the "Wyf's Prologue" reveals a direct relationship between the Wyf of Bathe and the characters in her tale, such as the knight, queen, and ugly woman.
Chaucer details of society in that day in age, as well as, his detailed information of the Wife of Bath encompassed values in which women still admire today. Women still seek to have a more powerful role in society, even though still today there is a struggle to reach the top. Still today, the perfection you bring to your personal appearance gets your farther in life. Finally, when the reliance in the Bible and how still to this day church and state combine ideas, having a knowledge of the stories in the Bible shows a woman that is full of morals, values, and a good standard of living. Because of all of this, the Wife of Bath showed many sides of herself that may be hard to believe but yet still the backbone of all of it, is what most women try to do with their lives: be stable, powerful, happy, beautiful, and good morals.
One of the most interesting and widely interpreted characters in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is the Wife of Bath. She has had five different husbands and openly admits to marrying the majority of them for their money. The wife appears to be more outspoken and independent than most women of medieval times, and has therefore been thought to symbolize the cause of feminism; some even refer to her as the first actual feminist character in literature. Readers and scholars probably argue in favor of this idea because in The Canterbury Tales, she uniquely gives her own insight and opinions on how relations between men and women should be carried out. Also, the meaning of her tale is that virtually all women want to be granted control over themselves and their relationship with their husbands, which seems to convince people that the Wife of Bath should be viewed as some sort of revolutionary feminist of her time. This idea, however, is incorrect. The truth is that the Wife of Bath, or Alisoun, merely confirms negative stereotypes of women; she is deceitful, promiscuous, and clandestine. She does very little that is actually empowering or revolutionary for women, but instead tries to empower herself by using her body to gain control over her various husbands. The Wife of Bath is insecure, cynical towards men in general, and ultimately, a confirmation of misogynistic stereotypes of women.
In Chaucer’s day women were thought of in lesser regard than men. Their positions in the community were less noble and often displeasing. The Canterbury Tales, written by Chaucer, is about a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Along with the narrator (Chaucer), there are 29 other Canterbury pilgrims. Not surprisingly, only three of them are women: the Prioress, the associate of the Prioress, and the Wife of Bath. Each traveler is to tell two tales to make the journey to Canterbury and back more enjoyable. The Host, Harry Bailey, is in charge of the group and will decide what is in the best interest of them all. Thus, the journey begins as do the tales. Even though the times suggest women are weak and powerless over men, Chaucer has a way of showing their capabilities through the stories. Although, their abilities are not always positive. Disguised in the form of love stories, Chaucer portrays how women easily lead men to their downfall. This is most evident in the tales told by the Knight, the Miller, the Franklin, and the Nun’s Priest. In the Knight’s Tale, two cousins fall for the fair Emelye. They are both in love with her after glancing at her from a prison tower. Not only has Emelye’s beauty made Arcite and Palamon love her, but it has made them become hostile towards each other. "We strive as did the houndes for the boon: - they fought all day, and yet, hir part was noon; there came a kite, while that they were so wrothe that bare away the bone bitwix hem bothe. And therefore, at the kings court, my brother, ech man for himself - there is non other," proclaim both (104). After Arcite is banished from Athens, he mourns his fate of never being able to see Emelye again so much that his appearance drastically changes. He decides to return to Athens, under a pseudonym, where he will be able to see her again. Meanwhile, Palamon grows weak in the prison tower because he fears Arcite will return and capture his love, Emelye. Neither of the men have ever spoken to her or stood near her, yet they insist on fighting and grieving over her. Emelye clearly has mastery over these two men. Arcite states, "...to Athens right now wol I fare! Ne for the drede of deeth shall I not spare to see my lady that I love and serve.