February 18, 2013
The Wife of Bath Analysis
The Wife of Bath is a nontraditional female character. She claims to be somewhat of an authority in the subject of marriage, because her first marriage was at the age of 12. She continued to marry four more times after, being widowed each time. The Wife was very opinionated when she spoke of women and what little authority they actually had.
The Wife says how she has been criticized for her numerous marriages. She claims that the majority of her critics quote the scriptures as bases of their criticisms; however when she responds that many men have had numerous wives, no one can reply. She also believes that men interpret the scriptures to suit their needs, but no one truly knows what was meant by them. The Wife of Bath claims that while the preacher stresses the importance of virginity, people need to reproduce in order to produce said virgin. She proudly states, “Let the virginity to the perfect and let the rest of use our gifts the best we may.” This clearly is referring to her sexual gifts.
While the Wife of Bath’s choices weren’t socially wise, she did what she knew best to make her happy. While it was perfectly acceptable for a man to have many wives, women were not expected to do anything of this nature. In her eyes, her choices were wise in the fact that she was happy.
The author believed that women wanted to be more like The Wife of Bath deep down, in the essence of being outspoken. In the medieval days women were seen and not heard, however this was not the case with the Wife. She dreamed of a world where women lived in equality.