The Wife of Bath, The Wife of Bath Prologue, and The General Prologue Essay

The Wife of Bath, The Wife of Bath Prologue, and The General Prologue Essay

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The Wife of Bath, The Wife of Bath Prologue, and The General Prologue


These selections from The Canterbury Tales best exemplify the ideals
and traits of women (as portrayed by Chaucer). In, The Wife of Bath
Prologue, the narrator brags of her sexual exploits as well as her
prowess of controlling men. The narrator is quite forthright in her
enjoyment of this manipulation; she comments on her technique of lying
and predomination of men. The General Prologue further serves to
display the daunting traits of women. The narrator makes several stabs
at a woman's appearance; and the overall effect is one of distaste and
inadequacy. The tale itself, The Wife of Bath, embodies the
characteristics of the two previous selections; by fermenting a
character that is both cynical towards men and symbolizes
superficiality.

The first selection, The General Prologue, offers the reader a glimpse
into the theme and tone of the entire Tale. In this segment of the
story, the author appropriates the fabliau genre. This style of
composition relies on a bawdy, suggestive sense of comedy to
communicate its message. This is particularly effective towards the
end lines, where the author includes, "Gap-toothed was she…An
overskirt was tucked around her buttocks large, And her feet spurred
sharply under that…The remedies of love she knew, perchance, For of
that art she'd learned the old, old dance." This excerpt incorporates
sly, cutting observations to lead the reader to its theme of wanton
manipulation. Throughout the selection, the author hints towards the
"Wife of Bath's" promiscuity and unbridled appearance. He recounts the
various locales she has ...


... middle of paper ...


...chet-faced enchantress' transformation is simply skin-deep; she
is still a manipulative warlock underneath.

The themes of the three different selections closely mirror each other
to convey a similar tone. The tone is one of disdain and mistrust
towards women. The General Prologue accomplishes this by way of chide
remarks towards a woman. The Wife's Prologue displays the unfortunate
consequences of multiple marriages, and the women that go along with
them. Finally, the tale of the Wife of Bath culminates by showing a
fantastical quest that culminates with a superficial and manipulating
ending. Thus, the three readings are fairly similar in their message;
which is that women want to domineer men, and will use any method to
do so. The stories use different methods to convey this, but still end
up at the same conclusion.

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