Wife Of Bath Gender Analysis

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In the 21st century, it is evident that sexual innuendos do not have a place in religion and that fact was no different in the 14th century. The Wife of Bath is the enigma of every century when it comes to religion and sexuality, especially the one in which she exists. She manages to maintain both religious and sexual personas. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue includes both religious and sexual elements even though they are in direct conflict with each other. It also utilizes both religious quotes and sexual innuendos in an effort to better represent what the character is actually like and the paradox in which she defies some social norms while conforming to others. Religion, particularly Catholicism, played a huge role in the lives of people …show more content…
A huge part of the contradiction consisted of her five marriages. Marriage for her and for most women in the 14th century was not about love; it was about money and property. In other words, what material things each member of the union could bring to the joint household. The Wife follows this methodology very well; some may say she even takes it too far. She has had five husbands, three of which she married for money and land, the other two of which she married because they were good in bed. In her own prologue, the Wife tells of her many husbands; however, she dwells much longer on her fifth husband who is religious and objects to her clothes. “With our clothing and with precious array, / That it is peril to our chastity” (Chaucer, WoBP, 338-339). Her husband’s point here is that religious women should dress modestly without flashy accessories. The Wife, on the other hand, is completely against this and wants to dress in fancy clothing and show off. One of the places in which she does this is when she says “You said this: that I was just like a cat;” (Chaucer, WoBP, 348). There she compares herself to a cat which is an animal known for its sexual prowess and need to be noticed when it is out and about. “Forth she’d go, before the day was dawning/ To show her skin and to go caterwauling” (Chaucer, 353-354). The Wife wants to go out in the sunlight so she may show everyone her immodest clothing and have men make a fuss over

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