The Wife of Bath explains that wife is no victim; rather, she is a perpetrator of the kind of marriages she has had. She is an active agent in her decisions to marry and use sex to propagate wealth. Her passion of sex makes us understand she endured sex with her first three husbands because they were old. Moments in The Wife of Bath’s Prologue suggest that while the Wife does not marry for love, she is unhappy in her marriages. The lack of love, however, does not mean that she is unsatisfied with her choices to be with those men.
The Wife of Bath, in her mind, has the right to deny sex because it is she who hold the "'power of his body' not he" (Chaucer 223). She even proudly admits that she had married men for their money and driven them to their end by her desire for sex. She prays for Jesus to send men "who are meek and young and spirited in bed" (Chaucer 250). The Wife of Bath will stop at nothing to get what she wants because dominance is what she lives for. ... ... middle of paper ... ...at Chaucer does not believe that it is right for the Wife of Bath to use her sexuality as a tool to get what she wants.
However, the Wife of Bath, Alisoun, is a strong believer in female maistrie, control in the marriage. She believes in female supremacy over husbands in marriage, and does not feel they can be equal partners in the relationship. Through her prologue and tale the wife justifies the actions she and other women make in their marriages. She exemplifies such control in her prologue which summarizes her life, the Queen in her tale, and the Old hag in the tale. In each case the women in the relationship exercises control over her husband.
The Wife of Bath Analysis The Wife of Bath Prologue and Tale tells about a woman who’s been married previous of times. She is described as Chaucer’s most delightful creature, although the Clerk and Pearson found her to be the most outrageous. She believed the woman should be head of household, nondependent on a man, woman should have the same equal opportunities as the men, and as soon as the men saw it that way, men and women would be happier in their marriage. She begins to describe her positions in her tale “The Wife of Bath” to why she stands affirms by it. In the Prologue, she talks about her life and the many experiences she has had.
The Wife of Bath would not be considered a prudent person by any means, especially considering the social customs of the Middle Ages that required women to be chaste and obedient. Despite these social conventions, she is sure of herself. The Wife of Bath introduces herself and a few of her numerous husbands before she tells the other pilgrims why she leads her particular lifestyle: “Housbondes at chirche dore I have had five/(If I so ofte mighte han wedded be)” (ll. 6-7). During these lines, the Wife of Bath claims she has had five husbands, but the questionable legality... ... middle of paper ... .... She uses her asset to gain for herself, but she does not take from anyone else.
Within both the poems there is a mutual understanding of monetary value displayed within females. It is clear that the character of the Wife considers sex and money to parallel each other in her mind. Throughout her prologue, the wife constantly affirms to the idea of a ‘dette’ that her husband must pay her if he wishes to have sexual pleasure (eve and morwe). The Wife even claims that her husband cannot ‘be maister of my body and of my good’ inferring that he cannot have control of both her money and her body. This is proof of how much she is considered a revolutionist among literary critics because she rebukes the medieval portrait placed upon women.
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 the time of the Canterbury Tales, men were the authoritative force and women were to be obedient to their husbands. I believe that Alison, the Wife of Bath, is trying to fight for her place, as she is not happy being an obedient and faithful wife. Alison is trying to rebel against society, the common view of marriage, and the church. In the prologue, the Wife of Bath shows herself as an authority in marriage, as she has been married five times. She attempts to prove herself to be experienced by using quotes from Scripture, such as her quote about Jesus only going to one wedding at Cana...
The Wife of Bath thought that all women needed to be the controlling factors in marriage. That is how she believed she would gain her husbands’ money. She claimed that if women can’t marry for money, they must marry for sex, for those are the only two things that really matter. Women must have control of their husbands, according to the Wife, and she is proud of the fact that she governed her husbands. If she had to put them in their place, she would make her husbands feel guilty, even if they had nothing to feel guilty about.
Within such a relationship, the time that a man spends separated from his love leads to nothing but heartache. Yet, according to Marie de France, this is not the case for the woman. In Chevrefoil, Tristram becomes "distressed and downcast" when his uncle sends him away from his kingdom, and it is because of this separation from her that h... ... middle of paper ... ...n such as Megan Fox, and Scarlett Johansson, are perfect examples of how men still put women on pedestals. Marie de France could have been laying the early ground work for these iconic sex symbols in her writings. Women of this stature can easily control just about any man they desire.