Chaucer's Views on Women: Griselda and the Wife of Bath's the Loathly Lady

3016 Words 13 Pages
Chaucer's Views on Women: Griselda and the Wife of Bath's the Loathly Lady

As a man fascinated with the role of women during the 14th Century, or most commonly known as the Middle Ages, Chaucer makes conclusive evaluations and remarks concerning how women were viewed during this time period. Determined to show that women were not weak and humble because of the male dominance surrounding them, Chaucer sets out to prove that women were a powerful and strong-willed gender. In order to defend this argument, the following characters and their tales will be examined: Griselda from the Clerk's Tale, and the Wife of Bath, narrator to the Wife of Bath's Tale. Using the role of gender within the genres of the Canterbury Tales, exploring each
…show more content…
For example, the romance genre involves a relationship between a man, usually young, and a woman- who is equally as young and has a fine physical description- are thrown together by chance, or some other situation. Chaucer's complex set of responses to the genre revolve around gender; he plays with romance conventions by changing women's positions: giving them a voice, giving them public and private authority, or removing them altogether (Weisl, 2.) Consequently, Chaucer is saddled with the conventions set by romance as a genre. According to Angela Jane Weisl, these conventions include "the feminization that requires the love plot and yet objectifies or marginalizes its female characters, the power structures of love that ordain woman's superiority but which must take that away as soon as she is `conquered' by her lover, and the inscribed definitions that allow a kind of public power to women if they are old, ugly, or dangerous and thus prevented from playing the heroine" (Weisl, 3.)

In order to sever the ties that the typical romance genre sets, Chaucer's response to such a problem was to create a character, or characters, that break the romance-mold. However, once a text has engaged romance's terms, it must remain bound by them, just

Related Documents