The Wife of Bath represents the "liberal" extreme in regards to female stereotypes of the Middle Ages.(chuckiii, 4) Unlike most women being anonymous during the Middle Ages, she has a mind of her own and voices herself. Furthermore, she thinks extremely highly of herself and enjoys showing off her Sunday clothes whenever the opportunity arises. She intimidates men and women alike due to the power she possesses. Because of her obnoxious attitude Chaucer makes her toothless, fat and large. Doubtlessly, she is very ugly, almost to the point of "not-presentable." The Prioress, on the other hand, serves as a foil to the Wife of Bath. Chaucer describes her as "tenderhearted" who can not bear the sight of pain or physical suffering. She will cry at the thought of a dog dying. It could represent that she has a frail soul with low tolerance for pain and suffering.(fordham, 16) The latter description carries over into the modern stereotypes about women as skittish and afraid... [continues]
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