John Chaucer 's The Canterbury Tales Essay example

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In The Canterbury Tales a variety of marriages are displayed. Although each tale is very different, there a few commonalities in what the characters believe makes marriage so terrible, such as age gaps and the deceitfulness of women. Although Chaucer’s stance on marriage is not explicitly stated, the nature of marriage in the Canterbury Tales is portrayed as a power struggle. Chaucer uses the character’s prologues and tales to portray the nature of marriage as a business. There is no sanctity of marriage, but instead the abuse of this institution.
In her prologue, the wife of Bath claims to be an expert on marriage, having been married five times, she believes that women should have complete sovereignty over men. She describes numerous occasions of when she would manipulate her husbands into gaining control. She freely admits, “So there’s one thing at least that I can boast, that in the end I always ruled the roast; Cunning or force was sure to make them stumble”(287). She used her marriages not for love, but to take advantage of the men financially. She traded her body for economic security. She also goes on to say that marriage is a misery, “If there were no authority on earth except experience, mine, for what it’s worth, and that’s enough for me, all goes to show that marriage is a misery and a woe”(276). This is one thing the merchant and the miller also agreed on. Despite disliking marriage, she is on a search for a sixth husband, so that she may accumulate more…

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