The institution of marriage has always been viewed as a lifetime bond which should never be broken.
In addition, there are certain general vows that each party usually takes- to be faithful, obedient, and loving. For years, this verbal agreement was enough to keep even the toughest of marriages together for a long time. Enter the Wife of Bath, the polar opposite of the medieval woman. She was loud, brash, and deceitful- making her seem like the least likely person to get married. However, she ends up marrying five men.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
Generally, these marriages contrast everything in the aforementioned vows, and we soon realize that the Wife of Bath is not your ordinary housewife.The Wife of Bath (Allison) makes a point to begin by saying that the churchâ€™s view of marriage is slanted. Her argument is that Jesus only went to one wedding, so people implied that they were only supposed to get married once. To strengthen her argument, she mentions that Abraham, Jacob, and Solomon had many wives; Solomon, in fact, did have hundreds of wives, while Abraham and Jacob had two apiece. The Wife of Bath then stated that she is not perfect compared to Christ, thereby justifying her prerogative to marry more than once.The Wife of Bath gives an insight into a hard working semi-independent woman of the Middle Ages. She is semi- independent because she is dependent upon her husbands for material goods. The institution of marriage is revealed to have little to do with love, but a lot to do with getting what you want or sexual gratification.
She showed us a rare glimpse of a woman with a position of authority in medieval society. She used sex to get what she wanted from her husbands, making her well practiced in the art of sexual manipulation. She presents herself as someone who craves sex and sees marriage as a way to experience the finer things in life. To make matters worse, she loves to be an instigator and push her husbandâ€™s buttons. During the time of Wife of Bath, the womanâ€™s job was just to be married and manage the household and the children. The Wife of Bath was not a typical â€œdesperate housewifeâ€ of the Middle Ages.
Being headstrong and opinionated gave her the strength to wage a war on the struggle of women and fight the unfair criticism of women. She fought against the taboos of female sexuality by being overtly promiscuous. Geoffrey Chaucer spends a great deal portraying The Wife of Bath as a significant contrast to the conventional medieval housewife. She is depicted as a character that flaunts her sexuality and uses it to get whatever she needs and wants.
Men in the medieval time raped women just because they felt like it. For example, in The Wife of Bathâ€™s tale, the Knight comes across a beautiful young maiden one day. Overcome by lust and his sense of his own power, he rapes her. So for The Wife of Bath to trick her husbandâ€™s into doing things for her or getting things for her does not seem as wrong as what men did to get what they wanted. She wished to be dominant, the one who has the last word, and the one who has control over all things in the relationship. This can be seen in her prologue, â€œI'll have a husband yet who shall be both my debtor and my slave and bear his tribulation to the grave upon his flesh, as long as I'm his wife.
For mine shall be the power all his life over his proper body, and not heâ€The Knight was to be sentenced to death for the rape, but instead was given a bargain by the Queen. He was given a year and a day to find out what women really wanted. If he brought back an answer suitable to the Queen, his life would be spared. One year later, on his way back from a failed journey, he runs into an old hag who tells him that women want power.
After receiving the queenâ€™s approval, the hag proclaims that the knight agreed to marry her. After getting married, the knight is obviously unhappy, having been tricked into marrying the hag. She then asks him whether he would want a beautiful, yet unfaithful woman or an ugly, yet faithful woman. After telling her that he wanted her to do whatever made her happiest, she becomes a beautiful faithful woman.The turning point in that story is when the knight wants the hag to be whatever makes her happiest. In.