preview

The Reeve's Tale Feminist Analysis

Better Essays
One Night with my Daughter for Two Bags of Corn:
A Feminist Analysis of Objectification and Traditional Gender Roles in “The Reeve’s Tale”.
The impact of taking away a character’s voice and actions results in dehumanizing that character. Within “The Reeve’s Tale”, the two women in this tale are not equals to the men of the story and are interchangeable with a few bags of corn. This is noted by the constant objectification of women and traditional gender roles that do not allow for a female voice. The dehumanization of women allow the reader to feel little to no sympathy when they are the equivalent to an object. In “The Reeve’s Tale” of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer, the use of fungibility, ownership, and traditional gender roles
…show more content…
If a woman that is older is looking for a man that is younger to sexually partner with than she is hated for sinful behavior, however an older man looking for a younger woman to be with is more than acceptable, it is almost praised. The gender biased double standard is produced by the patriarch; “thus by definition, sexist, which means it promotes the belief that women are innately inferior to men” (85 Tyson). An example of traditional gender roles comes into play during the Reeve’s tap of life speech in “The Reeve’s Prologue”; “oure olde lemes mowe wel been unweelde, but wyl ne shal nat faillen, that is sooth. And yet ik have alwey a coltes tooth” (3886-3888). By saying this, he is admitting to the group of pilgrims that he would gladly like to be with a young woman, though he is old and gray. The Reeve may be past his prime, but he still admits to having urges and a few kicks left in him for a young woman, had this been a female character the reaction would have been unwelcomed. This shows that with traditional gender roles comes a double standard that allows men to have more freedom in their actions and preferences than women…show more content…
For instance when Alayn and John, being law students, recall a law that allows them to legally rape Symkyn’s daughter or wife in exchange for their lost grain; “gif a man in a point be agreved, that in another he sal be releved” (4181-4183). The two student’s intentions to rape Symkyn’s daughter in exchange for the lost corn are revealed by “syn I sal have neen amendement agayn my los, I will have esement, by Goddes sale, it sal neen other bee” (4185-4187). Later on John will also rape Symkyn’s wife in order to appear as just as much of a man as Alayn is after copulating Malyne. In this tale, the interaction between the students and the women is not scrutinized as rape. This is because legally “in a case that would otherwise constitute rape under prevailing law, there is no rape is the perpetrator is married to (or co-habiting with) the victim” (1-2 Burgess-Jackson), and now John and Alayn are technically co-habiting Symkyn’s house where the women they ‘raped’
Get Access