The Role Of Power In The Wife Of Bath Tale

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What must it have been like for an author to rebel against the ideology of his time by undermining the power structure of a male dominated world? Chaucer played with fire when he wrote this tale by weakening the prevailing power structure of the time and place in The Wife of Bath Prologue and The Wife of Bath Tale. However, this is not implying that Chaucer makes the males weak and helpless, but it seeks to reverse who the authoritative gender is. In The Wife of Bath Tale, Chaucer upsets the power structure and defies the master narrative by placing women in roles of dominance over men. The ideology that males are in control of females, is not exactly how it plays out in the Wife of Bath Tale. The fate of the knight’s life, after being accused…show more content…
After spending a year searching for the answer, the knight returns up empty handed. However, he meets an old woman who will provide him with what he desires the most, “‘Koude ye me wise, I wolde wel quite youre hire’ / ‘Plight me thy trouthe here in myn hand,’quod she / ‘The nexte thyng that I require thee, / Thou shalt it do, if it lye in thy myght’ (1008-1011). Women bargaining with a man during the fourteenth century is abnormal. By defying the master narrative, the Wife of Bath makes it appear as though women’s knowledge is the key to curing a man’s helplessness and distress. Therefore, this explains why the old woman knows exactly what women want the most, authority, which she demonstrates in her dominance over the knight (Sturges 45). Chaucer is clearly undermining the patriarchal ideology by defying the master narrative in the way power is…show more content…
He is pushing back against the patriarchal ideology by giving women choices and control over men. This undermines what society was like during the fourteenth century. The queen and the old woman are not to be in this position nor should they have the ability to decide the fate of a man’s life. Chaucer’s plot choices almost appear to be feminist but yet they also toss the patriarchal ideology to the wind. The dominance shown by the Wife of Bath in her prologue and tale are perfect examples of how the defiance of the master narrative makes the women out to be the heroes and not the
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