The Wife of Bath from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

The Wife of Bath from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

Length: 585 words (1.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Wife of Bath from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales


In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a collection of tales is presented during a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. The pilgrims on the journey are from divergent economic and social backgrounds but they have all amalgamated to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas. Chaucer uses each pilgrim to tell a tale which portrays an arduous medieval society. The values, morals and social structures of the society can be examined through the fictitious tales, unravelling a corrupt, unjust and manipulative world, a world that is based around an ecclesiastical society.
Society was closely associated with the Church. Chaucer was clearly unhappy with the way members of the Church were exploiting the people; that is why so many religious figures are on the pilgrimage. In the General Prologue, the narrator describes each character. The religious characters include the Prioress, the Friar, the Monk, the Summoner and the Pardoner. Many of these characters are quite high in their respective division of church structure. They should be completely pure in mind and be role models for others. However, this is not the case as Chaucer portrays the Prioress and Monk as having romantic ideas rather than religious. The Prioress knows what love means when she should not. On her, "heeng a brooch of gold ful sheen, / On which ther was written a crowned A, / And after, Amor vincit omnia" (ll. 160-162). This means love conquers all; a well-behaved nun should not be thinking about love. She should be "statilch of manere" and "digne of reverence" (ll. 140-141), meaning she should be worthy and dignified but it seems as if Chaucer is portraying her in a different fashion. The Monk also ...


... middle of paper ...


...d characters to point out the flaws of the Church, and now for him to praise this obviously crooked member of the Church, shows how low the respect he holds for the Church is.
According to the religious characters described in the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales, the Church does not do enough to cleanse itself from attracting such figures. They all violate the demanding lifestyle of what they should be but they still manage to hold their positions in the structure of the Church. Chaucer develops an ardent attack on the degeneration and corruption of the medieval church. He covertly exposes the evils attacking the very foundation of Christianity. In doing so, he also shows how the society that almost completely relied on the Church for adherence, was extremely fragile and could imminently destruct because of the disorganization caused by the corruption.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Chaucer's View of Women Exposed in The Canterbury Tales Essay

- Often, the most memorable female characters are those who break out of the stereotypical “good wife” mold. When an author uses this technique effectively, the woman often carries the story. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, he portrays the Wife of Bath, Alison, as a woman who bucks the tradition of her times with her brashness and desire for control. Chaucer effectively presents a woman's point of view and evokes some sympathy for her. In the author's time, much of the literature was devoted to validating the frailties of women....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Wife of Bath]

Good Essays
788 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Wife of Bath

- My main focus in the many books from the Canterbury tales was the one of: “ The wife of Bath’s prologue and tale “. The wife of bath is meant not meant to contradict the misogynist of her time, but the scriptural rules of the church. This woman was a “lady” of lust, and did not care to gain or lose love, but she loaned for power over men and woman. She was a woman who would turn men against other women so that she could have complete control over the man, and make them her husbands in which she had 5 of since the age of twelve....   [tags: church, canterbury tales]

Good Essays
971 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on No Apologies for The Wife of Bath

-      In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the author portrays the Wife of Bath, Alison, as a woman who bucks the tradition of her times with her brashness and desire for control. Chaucer is able to present a strong woman's point of view and to evoke some sympathy for her.   In the author's time, much of the literature was devoted to validating the frailties of women.  However, in this story, the Wife is a woman who has outlived four of five husbands for "of five housbodes scoleying" (Chaucer 50) is she....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Good Essays
849 words (2.4 pages)

Relationships in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales Essays

- Throughout literature, deep relationships can often be discovered between a story and the author who writes it. Relationships can also be found in stories about a husband and wife. In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales many of the characters make this idea apparent with the stories they tell. In “The Pardoner’s Tale”, a distinct relationship can be made between the character of the Pardoner and his tale of three friends. Also, the Wife in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” boldly declares her relationship towards her husband....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales Essays]

Good Essays
535 words (1.5 pages)

Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

- Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales is Geoffrey Chaucer's greatest and most memorable work. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses "a fictitious pilgrimage [to Canterbury] as a framing device for a number of stories" (Norton 79). In "The General Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes in detail the pilgrims he meets in the inn on their way to Canterbury. Chaucer is the author, but also a character and the narrator, and acts like a reporter to provide a detailed description of the pilgrims....   [tags: Chaucer The Wife of Bath]

Good Essays
1636 words (4.7 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale Essay

- “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a story about a widow who took a pilgrimage to the town of Canterbury with an array of dynamic characters whose diverse backgrounds allowed them to share their stories with one another to make the long journey more interesting. The widow named Alison in the The Wife of Bath’s Tale told the tale of her experiences with her five past husbands and a story about a knight and a witch. She truly believed that for a woman to have a happy life she would need to gain dominion over a man; however one could assume this was programmed into her by her influential mother and her own religious doctrines....   [tags: The Wife of Bath Essays]

Good Essays
1373 words (3.9 pages)

The Wife of Bath and the Battle of the Sexes Essay

- How far do you agree that in the battle of the sexes it is the wife of Bath who has the most effictive weapons and armour. The Wife sees the relationship between men and women as a battle in which it is crucial to gain the upper hand, 'Oon of us two must bowen, douteless' Her armour was indeed necessary, as in Medieval England, women definitley were second class citizens who were viewed as goods and chattels, with no financial independence. They were often beaten, and it is clearly in the Wife's nature to protect herself....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Good Essays
680 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - The Incredible Wife of Bath's Tale

- Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - The Incredible Wife of Bath's Tale       In reading Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," I found that of the Wife of Bath, including her prologue, to be the most thought-provoking. The pilgrim who narrates this tale, Alison, is a gap-toothed, partially deaf seamstress and widow who has been married five times.  She claims to have great experience in the ways of the heart, having a remedy for whatever might ail it. Throughout her story, I was shocked, yet pleased to encounter details which were rather uncharacteristic of the women of Chaucer's time.  It is these peculiarities of Alison's tale which I will examine, looking not only at the ch...   [tags: Wife of Bath Essays]

Free Essays
1057 words (3 pages)

Essay The Wife of Bath by Geoffrey Chaucer

- The Wife of Bath by Geoffrey Chaucer "Sex is natural, sex is good. Not everybody does it, but everybody should. " --George Michael From Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath is most creatively portrayed and certainly most controversial. Alison, as she is called, is a very outspoken woman with beliefs contrary to those of her time, when a woman had little say. In her prologue, the Wife of Bath chastises those who look down on her because of her beliefs, and uses various biblical and religious references to support her opinions on chastity, sex, and marriage....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
398 words (1.1 pages)

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Chaucer's Pardoner is unique within the group travelling to Canterbury. While the Parson, the Wife of Bath, the Clerk, and others would love to sway the group toward their respective opinions and views, the Pardoner intends to swindle the group out of its money. His sermons are based on sound theology, but they are rendered hollow by his complete lack of integrity in applying them to his own life. He is a hypocrite - his root intention is to accrue money....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
959 words (2.7 pages)