My initial judgement of the knight in the Wife of Bath’s Tale was that he is a violent rapist that did not deserve to have mercy placed upon him for his crime. In a sickening way, it is possible that the Wife placed the knight in this particular position to get her point across concerning the dominance she has had over men, as mentioned in her prologue (lines 211-223). Rape is often described as a form of forced power, as depicted through the knight. Rather than plain sexual assault, it appears as if the Wife has served out a rhetorical assault of a mental caliber onto her five husbands using her love for sex as a tool.
Rape has its stereotypical implications for men through this notion of forced power over women weaker than themselves, as seen through the knight. However, throughout the tale, it is the women who have the ultimate power over men. It is the Queen of King Arthur who interceded the knight’s decapitation on his behalf to prove himself worthy, and the King agreed to her counsel (lines 892-898). The Queen and her ...
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... considering this notion of virginity. (61-62). I recognize this standard as a method of establishing dominance over women, and the Wife of Bath is not having any of it.
Despite his horrid crime, the knight has a happy ending after fulfilling the desires of the old woman, soonafter becoming a beautiful and faithful young woman. The Wife of Bath clearly states that she is working towards her happy ending, which involves her preparation for a potential sixth husband. From this, I am reiterating that the Wife of Bathe is self-projecting her desires through the lessons he learned. Considering that the men of the pilgrimage are listening to her tale, I could assume that she is trying to spread her ideology of female dominance through the success story of the knight in her tale. I tend to view it more as “Look! He submitted to women and now they are all happy in the end!”
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