Patriarchy In The Wife Of Bath

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At the Heart of Patriarchy There is always a Woman Fighting
In the Medieval time period, the roles of women were dictated by the society’s interpretation of the two most important women in the bible, Mother Mary, and Eve. During the medieval era, where “The Wife of Bath” is set, the expectations of women by their society were dictated and outlined by the Bible as well as the binary of Eve vs Mother Mary. Women were viewed as an inferior class that must suffer retribution for the sins of Eve. These rules were codified by not only the Church but also the patriarchal society that surrounded the time period and these rules were not negotiable. Women were placed inside a domestic sphere that they were not allowed to stray from lest they face the
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She is born a woman in a world dominated by men. Yet, “The Wife of Bath” demonstrates how Alys attempts to exploit the blind spots of the patriarchal system she lives in. She uses the bible to help maneuver through the heart of the patriarchal thinking that defined the medieval era to achieve her own personal empowerment. Chaucer takes his main protagonist and writes her as manipulative, licentious, and deceitful which can be interpreted as her falling into the same stereotypes she is protesting against. However, in spite of her characterization making her seem hypocritical and the overall narrative as antifeminist, Alys openly decries against the clerical tradition and misogynistic social norms that dictate her society in such a demanding and authoritative way that she cannot be regarded as anything short of proto-feminist. She not only protests the religion backed oppression of women, she also addresses the lack of sexual autonomy women held, the expected subservience of women within a marriage and the common violence against women. Alys makes her argument without fear of retribution which was unseen in female literary characters and Alys’s lifestyle does not compromise her label as a feminist …show more content…
The first is the stigma placed upon woman regarding sex. In the Medieval period women were expected to be demure, chaste, and uninterested in sex. The first thing Alys explains to the reader is that she is the opposite of those three characteristics. She argues against the stigma place upon women for enjoying sex. She does so by using the exact method medieval men used to demand the purity of women: the bible. She uses the religious text to contend that woman should not be afraid to engage in or admit to enjoying sex: the bible. The first point she makes to her reader support her claim is that there is not a place in the bible where God demands virginity of where, contrary to her society’s moral standards. She asks her

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