Mimesis And Gender In Chaucer's The Wife Of Bath

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In The Wife of Bath, Chaucer portrays Wife of Bath as someone who will do anything to get what she wants. It could be believed that Wife of Bath only marries for material items not for love. There are also places in the poem where we see the Wife’s desire to have authority. Some of the things that Wife of Bath does show her strong desire for authority as a female. There are many different opinions on this. I looked into articles that discussed Wife of Bath’s actions as she is trying to have authority as a female. In Anne McTaggart’s article What Women Want?Mimesis and Gender in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, she discusses the idea of what women really what and the reasoning for their actions behind this idea. McTaggart …show more content…
This phrase makes the “designation of authority an accusation rather that a credit. This repetition and the Wife’s mimicry of auctoritee, is, as the Wife openly admits, pure strategy in the war for dominance” (McTaggart). So, according to McTaggart, the Wife has strategized ways that she can gain dominance over men. McTaggart backs this up by stating that “Alisoun acknowledges that her first three husbands did not actually say any of these things to her (“And al was fals”), but she uses her performances as the female victim as a means of shaming her husbands, in order to gain control over them.” I believe that the Wife planned all of this out. When she said “and al was fals” we immediately could conclude that she was lying so that it would make her husbands look bad and in return she would end up having authority (McTaggart …show more content…
In relation to this observation, McTaggart said:
Strikingly, therefore, the Wife reverses the roles of traditional courtship, suggesting that it is the woman who pursues the man; more to the point, she puts herself in the archetypal position of the wooing male who must convince the reluctant female object to capitulate to his advances. (McTaggart 49)
Here, McTaggart is in essence saying that Wife of Bath has decided that she will pursue the male in order to start a relationship with him. She is going to so things that will make him fall in love with her rather than what normally happens where the male does things to make the female fall in love with him. This also points back to Wife of Bath wanting authority. In my opinion, the person who pursues the other has authority in the beginning because they initiated the relationship. In this case, Wife of Bath would have initial authority because she initiated the relationship and did things that would cause the man to fall in love with

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