The Role Of Women In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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Madonna once said, “I 'm tough, I 'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay” (Madonna). Madonna is saying that she can do what she wants and that should be okay, no matter what society says. Society should not be the one to determine how women act. This accurately embodies Geoffrey Chaucer’s message on how women should act in regards to what society tells them to do. In the fourteenth century, Madonna would be seen as a rebellious person that no one should follow. Many of the characters in The Canterbury Tales live by the words that Madonna said, yet Chaucer still makes them admirable. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer illustrates that the societal norms should not be upheld through his use of women.
In The
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In his tale, Chaucer makes the readers pity May for being married to an old man, January, who cannot please her. Readers sympathize with May more because of her unpleasurable husband and her lack of say in decision making. When she finally does something she wants and has sex with Damian in a tree, even the goddess, Proserpina, agrees and wants May to be the winner in the end. Proserpina lets January believe May’s lies and she gets away, unpunished. Chaucer shows that while May was being unfaithful, she earns what she wants. When she finally goes against the social norms of only pleasing her husband and not herself, she still ends up being a good character. This means that Chaucer wants women to be independent and do what pleases them. Chaucer is saying that everything will be fine in the end if they live by their own desires, so they might as well live a life that they enjoy, rather than listening to what society…show more content…
She has sex with Nicholas, the scholar, and they want to spend more time with each other, so they trick John into staying in a bathtub to avoid an infamous flood that will wipe out all of mankind. Then another man named Absolon falls in love with Alison, but he ends up in a bad place. Although Alison started this whole mess by being unfaithful to her husband, she is not to be blamed. Just like May, she just wants to love a man her age that actually pleases her, rather than with an old man who objectifies her. He restricted her because, “Her age was eighteen years. He jealously / Kept her as if inside a cage, for she / Was one both young and wild,” (idk how to cite this as well 3223-3225). She is the ideal woman that he could ask for, so he feels as if he has to protect her, but by doing so, he becomes overprotective. She has her own wants and needs that she must get fulfilled by someone else. In the end, although she causes this ruckus, she is the only that gets away unscathed. Chaucer uses John as a symbol for the societal pressures that suffocate women into acting a specific way. He ends up getting punished, showing his wrongdoing, while Alison is set free. She gets a good result at the end because she does what she wants for herself. She does not let anything get in the way because she breaks the standard that women should just follow their husbands. Instead,
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