The Wife of Bath and the Battle of the Sexes Essay

The Wife of Bath and the Battle of the Sexes Essay

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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.

She uses weapons like her sexuality and her youth to make her husbands suffer, so much so that they feel impotent.

'How pitously a-night I made hem swinke!'

This weapon was highly effective with first three husbands who she managed to dominate,

'I hadde hem hoolly in myn hond'

and they handed over 'lond and hir tresoor' as she with held sex in order to get her own way with them.

The Wife also used a weapon of deceit and she clearly comments that women have this weapon from birth,

'Swere and lyen as a womman kan'

She tells her audience tha...


... middle of paper ...


...nce is that she is once again in control as

'he yaf me al the bridel in myn hond
To han the governance of ous and lond'

Although her marriage with her 5th husband is never resolved and there is no winner because he dies whilst she is on a pilgrimmage, she has a good battle, and probably the most difficult of all her husbands.

The overall picture is of a Wife who has certainly fought the good fight. Not surprising as her astrological sign is Mars, implying strength in war. She is still confident and looking to welcome husband number 6.

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