Jane Eyre And The Wife Of Bath Analysis

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A Tragic Caricature of Women: Parallels Struck Concerning the Marginalization of Women in Jane Eyre and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue
Scholars coined the term “protofeminist” to describe those who advocated for advancements in women’s rights before the existence of the feminist movement, leading to the definition of feminism to be moulded over time. There have been arguments in favour of the Wife of Bath — one of the protagonists in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales — being one of the first feminist characters in literature as she breaks the mould of a typical feminine figure with her her unique insight and opinions. While the Wife of Bath herself believes she is empowering in her ideas and actions of pursuing a matriarchal society, she
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Regardless, the rising notion that women should be held equal to men has always been a prevalent issue, not often touched upon in early literature. While the issue presented itself in the works of Chaucer and Bronte, neither adequately captured the problem concerning the marginalization of women and ironically, fed into it. Both Jane Eyre and the Wife of Bath possesses traits atypical to other women of their respective eras, neither fully break the mould to be considered a feminist. Characters in conflict with themselves, they unintentionally portray the stereotypes associated with their time periods, consciously or unconsciously endorsing the inequality they’re fighting against. The Wife preaches feminist ideals and encourages sovereignty over a woman’s self as does Jane, desiring the independence of equal treatment of women yet neither characters fully adhere from societal norms. Nevertheless, their actions and behaviour in attempt to portray a “feminist” persona fails as rather than revolutionize women and work to change the way society sees women, they feed into the stereotypes of their respective eras and cannot, in modern terms, be considered a

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