The View of Marriage in The Wife of Bath

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The View of Marriage in The Wife of Bath The Wife of Bath has her own perception of marriage, which Chaucer shows in both the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale. Marriage itself was defined by Webster's Dictionary as the state of being married, a wedding ceremony and attendant festivities, or a close union. Marry or married is said to be joined as husband and wife according to law or custom, or to take as husband or wife, says Webster's Dictionary. In both the Prologue and Tale of the Wife of Bath we see the institution of marriage used as control over money and sexual powers. Chaucer's Wife of Bath displays a complete sense of mockery toward marriage as a holy institution. The Prologue and Tale of the Wife of Bath clearly show that the Wife of Bath sees marriage as a woman's dominance over a man. In the Prologue, the Wife of Bath starts to defend her actions of marrying five men. She interprets from scripture: All I know for sure is, God has plainly bidden us to increase and multiply a noble text, and one I understand! And, as I'm well aware, He said my husband must leave father and mother, cleave to me. But, as to number, did He specify? He named no figure, neither two nor eight why should folk talk of it as a disgrace? (219-20) She uses her marriages as a sort of fulfillment of God's word. Using two specific examples from scripture she explains why her marriages are justifiable by God: For then, says the Apostle Paul, I'm free to wed, in God's name, where it pleases me. He says to be married is no sin, better it is to marry than to burn. I know that Abraham was a holy... ... middle of paper ... ...Bath wanted to have dominance over all males that is what she shows in her own life, the Prologue, as well as in her Tale. The queen in the tale has the power to let her husband behead the knight. The Wife of Bath herself held sexual deeds over her husbands in exchange for money. She held power over their property and money. The women of this story are portrayed as opposites of the way women were supposed to act in those times. These woman were independent although still able to be put into their place by their husband. There is always an alternative motive, which is the woman receives what she wants in the end. The Wife of Bath is not a picture of chastity but she proves that there is nothing wrong with marrying more than once because she waited for each to die before remarrying and in the bible the men say that it is all right by the Lord to marry.

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