Women's Roles In The Wife Of Bath By Geoffrey Chaucer

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“The Wife of Bath” is a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer. This poem provides great insight on the women’s role in the late middle ages. Women were taught to be obedient to their husbands and their only job was to run the household and raise children. The Wife of Bath on the other hand has a different idea on women’s roles. In her lengthy prologue she suggest that women should have power over their lovers and husbands rather than the way it is. The Wife of Bath is known as a very strong, independent, dominant character who gets what she wants, which includes five husbands. In her tale of the Wife of Bath she shares a story about an older women gaining control over her husband. The true character of the Wife of Bath is revealed in her tale of …show more content…
She has very similar ideas and characteristics as Alison. The first similarity between the two characters is their age, they are both fairly old women. Despite their age they both in the end marry young men, the old women marries the young knight, while Alison married Jankyn. The old women has a very dominant personality. When the night asks her what do all women want she responds with “A woman wants the self-same sovereignty over her husband as over her love, And master him. He must not be above her” (Holt 183). The old woman wants power and control over her husband. In the end of the tale the old woman gets what she wants form her husband, power over him. The night says “My lady and my love, and wyf so deere, I put me in your wyse governance: Cheseth yourself which may be most pleasance” (Beck 96).The knight was wise in giving the women what she wanted because she decided to be a faithful wife and pretty. Another characteristics of the old woman is she is sexual, in the end of the story she turns into a young, lovely women and gives her husband pleasure. There are many similarities between Alison and the old woman. These similarities in their characteristics and ideas help emphasize the main desire of a women’s heart, control over her husbands …show more content…
Ellen Woodward says “The most prominent of similarity is the dominance the women have over their husbands” In the Wife of Bath’s Prologue Alison wants full submission from all her husband, she wants them to be her slaves. Her fifth husband does not give into her control as easier as the other ones did and this fuels Alison need for power even more. The old women has the same idea as Alison, she clearly states that she wants full power over her lover. The knight had an issue with giving her full control, but then he lets me make all the decisions. Both women gained control over their husbands through sexual and verbal power. Some of the same ideas that were introduced in the prologue continued into the tale such as “The metaphor of a husband’s sexual debt to a wife’s body, originally found in the prologue, continues in the request of the woodland woman that the knight marry her” (Sylvester). In the prologue Alison has her fifth husband give her all of his estate and she will treat him kindly, he is paying his debt. In the tale the knight is forced into marriage by the old women because she saved his life by giving him the answer to the riddle. Another similarity between the women are they both use sexual power to get what they want. Alison uses her sexual power to get full submission for her husbands, she would tease them until she got what she wanted, then she would give them what they wanted.

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