The Wife of Bath

Satisfactory Essays
The institution of marriage has always been viewed as a lifetime bond which should never be broken. In addition, there are certain general vows that each party usually takes- to be faithful, obedient, and loving. For years, this verbal agreement was enough to keep even the toughest of marriages together for a long time. Enter the Wife of Bath, the polar opposite of the medieval woman. She was loud, brash, and deceitful- making her seem like the least likely person to get married. However, she ends up marrying five men. Generally, these marriages contrast everything in the aforementioned vows, and we soon realize that the Wife of Bath is not your ordinary housewife.

The Wife of Bath (Allison) makes a point to begin by saying that the church’s view of marriage is slanted. Her argument is that Jesus only went to one wedding, so people implied that they were only supposed to get married once. To strengthen her argument, she mentions that Abraham, Jacob, and Solomon had many wives; Solomon, in fact, did have hundreds of wives, while Abraham and Jacob had two apiece. The Wife of Bath then stated that she is not perfect compared to Christ, thereby justifying her prerogative to marry more than once.

The Wife of Bath gives an insight into a hard working semi-independent woman of the Middle Ages. She is semi- independent because she is dependent upon her husbands for material goods. The institution of marriage is revealed to have little to do with love, but a lot to do with getting what you want or sexual gratification. She showed us a rare glimpse of a woman with a position of authority in medieval society. She used sex to get what she wanted from her husbands, making her well practiced in the art of sexual manipulation. She presents herself as someone who craves sex and sees marriage as a way to experience the finer things in life. To make matters worse, she loves to be an instigator and push her husband’s buttons.

During the time of Wife of Bath, the woman’s job was just to be married and manage the household and the children. The Wife of Bath was not a typical “desperate housewife” of the Middle Ages. Being headstrong and opinionated gave her the strength to wage a war on the struggle of women and fight the unfair criticism of women. She fought against the taboos of female sexuality by being overtly promiscuous.
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