Canterbury Tales Essay

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In “The Canterbury Tales” By Geoffrey Chaucer, Twenty-nine pilgrims meet by chance at the Tabard Inn and decide to travel together. The pilgrims are on their way to Canterbury to visit the Tomb of Thomas Becket. While at the Inn a contest is suggested by the host. Each pilgrim will have to tell two tales, on the way there and back. Two tales told are “The Wife of Baths Prologue” and “The Clerk’s Tale”. The Wife of Bath believes in an equal partnership in marriage. Griselda believes in total submission to one’s husband. The Wife of Bath defies the medieval notions of a woman’s role in marriage while Griselda embodies them. The Wife of Bath is a wife unlike others in the medieval days. She has had many husbands. Also she does not believe in being obedient to a man. While debating to her husband about her beliefs on marriage she says, “You shan’t have both … As think to keep my goods and have my body! / One you must do without, whatever you say. / And do you need to spy on my all day? / …We cannot love a husband who takes charge / Of where we go. We like to be at large.” (267) She does not think the husband should have authority over the wife. The Wife of Bath explains that her husband has to choose between having her or having her body. By having her body she implies sex. She also says that she doesn’t need to listen to him all the time further more he does not need to keep watch on her every minute of everyday. The Wife as well says that the woman too likes to have authority in the marriage. A woman cannot love a husband who tries to rule her and her actions. She believes that while in the marriage she should be able to go about and do what she pleases without any controversy from her partner. Griselda is the wife of Walter and daughter of the poorest man in town. Walter is the marquis of town. Before marrying Griselda the Marquis has her make a promise to him. Griselda promises to obey all that he says. They then marry. Throughout their marriage Walter tests...
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