Women Of The Medieval West Essay

Women Of The Medieval West Essay

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In the period of 1200 – 1400 in the Medieval West, the Church had a huge influence over society. There were many ideals set by the Church that the people were expected to accept. Women in particular, had specific roles in which they had to conform to, and the majority of women did so. The two main roles available for a women in this time period were that of a wife, and taking on the responsibilities of caring for a household. The other main choice that came about through the development of the church was the role of a Nun, where a women was expected to live a life of contemplation and prayer. Both of these roles were prominent in between the years of 1200 and 1400 and women conformed to these ideals as many did not have a choice. However, there were many influencial women during this time, and these women had significant roles in the development of women and how they were viewed by society.


One of the key roles set by the Church of the medieval West, was that of the wife. This was an ideal that has developed and held its importance in many Western societies today. In the period between 1200 and 1400 it was considered highly and seen to be, “one of the few acceptable Chrisitian roles for women.” As a wife, a women had specific responsibilities to maintain. These responsibilities depended on the socioeconomic class of the family and varied depending on this. The majority of wives were given domestic responsibilities and most conformed to this ideal. Generally to begin with there was a lack of rights and consent for a women when it came to marriage. Often they had no say in who they were to marry, and women were married off at a young age, especially if they came from a family of high social standing. This meant that they spen...


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...a women to take on the role of a Nun and it seems this involved a smaller amount of women due to the smaller amount of monastaries founded in the period between 1200 and 1400. The role of the Nun involved living a life of contemplation, prayer and work and was based upon the suffering Jesus was inflicted with when on the Cross.

There were several roles the medieval Church influenced in the medieval West during the time of 1200 and 1400 and women did confrom to these ideals, as wives, mothers and as Nuns. All three of these roles were highly regarded as acceptable for a women to involve herself in. These roles were influencial at the time, and have influencied ideals held by Western society today. There were certain women who challenged these stereotypical ideals, but the majority of women followed the guidance of the Church and maintained to conform to these roles.

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