What means necessary would one take to obtain power in intimate settings such as love and marriage? In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, one encounters a very bold, confident, fearless, and controlling woman. One learns in her prologue that the Wife of Bath is not the one to conform to medieval societal norms. She does not follow what women are supposed to be portrayed as. This woman has had five husbands who widowed her, she was the dominant figure in her relationships, she used respected materials such as the Bible to justify her active sexual life, and believed that men should be submissive to their wives.
She was not escorted nor protected by man. One of the wife of bath's reasons in going on this pilgrimage, beside getting the holy blessing, was the probability off finding a sixth husband. In the wife of Bath's prologue she argues with the pilgrims about the marriage and she use's her experience in the matter of marriage over the motion of the tradition authority. Because she been married five times, she is more experienced about the marriage more than any other pilgrim. In her prologue the wife of Bath's talked about her five marriages, and how she gained sovereignty over all of her husband.
Women like the Wife of Bath, who were tired of being scared into virginity, began to "contradict many of the old oppressive customs and assert their own overbearing assessment of the roles of women in society and in relationships" (Blake). Alison sees no point in virginity because if "Lord God had commanded maidenhood, He'd have condemned all marriage as no... ... middle of paper ... ...ity in 'The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.'" Johnathan Blake. 6 Nov 1998 Luminarium. 12 Dec 01 Brault, Gerard J.
Unfortunately, other women lack The Wife of Bath’s confidence to out wit their husbands and their beatings carry on. Chaucer once again uses Alice to show an alternative way that wives could act: using their three God given skills women to achieve a better outcome. Women rely on their looks to marry, another unfair standard females encounter. The the Wife of Bath Tale shows how appearances can affect a marriage. An old, hideous, low born woman saves a Knight’s life, after he agrees to marry her, but he soon regrets his decision, “Thou art so lothly and so old also, And therto comen of so lowe a kinde…” (Chaucer 231).
The wife of bath, Alison, represents antifeminist stereotypes and searches for happiness and a place in a patriarchal society. Unfortunately, Alison is never in tune with who she really is as a woman. Chaucer uses a series of ironies to eventually show that under her seemingly confident guise, there hides the soul of a vulnerable, lost woman. The Wife of Bath argues in favor of women. She disparages the works of the male scholars that denigrate women.
While the Wife spends most of the Prologue arguing in favour of the deceit and deviousness that wise wives will execute, the argument is often illogical and can approach ridiculousness in its vehemence. Are we to agree with the views that the Wife of Bath puts forward so strongly, or does Chaucer present her as a caricature of every negative quality women are traditionally guilty of? A great deal of the Wife's Prologue is spent in her narration of the tirades that she subjected her first three husbands to, largely a list of accusations made by anti-feminists of women, and the Wife's spirited responses. The Wife's replies defend women's behaviour -- if a husband has enough sex from his wife, she says, he should not care "How mirily that othere folks fare". She attacks scholars who accuse women of all manner of vileness by asking "Who peynted the leon, tel me who?"
The Wife of Bath is insecure, cynical towards men in general, and ultimately, a confirmation of misogynistic stereotypes of women. Virtually everything the Wife of Bath does or says regarding different aspects of her life demonstrates that she is very insecure about herself. She begins her prologue by informing the travelers that she has the authority to argue about and discuss marriage because of her experiences: “Experience, though noon auctori... ... middle of paper ... ...ies that Alisoun does not believe that men are trustworthy or honorable, and that she believes that men only care about the superficial aspects of life, such as having a young, beautiful wife. The Wife of Bath’s insecurity and cynicism are just two of the ways in which she fulfils negative stereotypes of women. She tries to separate herself from other women of her time by taking control of her life by means of sex, but if she were truly progressive, she would have found a way to elevate herself without using her body.
But Alison, the cunning harlot that she may be, throws the standards of her time right back in her culture’s face as well as the church’s. She does this not only being proud of what the church at that time would have called a wicked woman, but she uses the scriptures to give justification as to why she can, and has had five husbands. The truth is, I don’t want to keep chaste forever. As soon as my husband departs this world some other Christian shall marry me, for then, says the Apostle, I am free to wed in God’s name where I please. He says it’s no sin to be married: better to marry than to burn.
“…how can I deny the truth?” Although Bertrande is well-intentioned, her actions bring misery to everyone. Discuss. The notion of Bertrande de Rols in The Wife of Martin Guerre as having good intentions suggests not only that she was mindful of her own feelings in her pursuit of the truth, but also of the feelings of others. However, Bertrande’s intentions were to cleanse her soul and absolve herself from sin by indicting the impostor, Arnaud du Tilh. Yet, she undertakes this task considering the despair it would inflict upon the mesnie.
She explains more than anything, the thing women desire the most is the position to have complete dominance over their husbands. In the prologue, she talks about how she talks about how she succeeded in all her marriages. During Chaucer’s time, women were classified as closely the character of a monster. They were not allowed to participate in church and were characterized as unsuitable. Being that the wife of bath was married more than once, people have begun to sense suspect; because back in Chaucer’s time, if a woman was to be married for the second time was deemed untrustworthy.