English Honors 4
Roles of Medieval Women
During medieval times, women were known as inferior to men. They
were treated as objects instead of people. Even though the roles for the
medieval women were already established, some women defied their roles and set their own standards of society. Getting married or establishing power was their only option. Most medieval women had only marriage to look forward to, except for noblewomen who wielded some power and those women who had occupations. Arranged marriages were very common during medieval times and set certain roles for women. Medieval women were usually married with people of the same class. Families used this as a way to gain fortune. Marrying a rich widow could bring money, land, and array. Even though arranged marriages were the law, the Church emphasizes consent of the bride and the bridegroom. The Church also emphasized the reason for the marriage. They punished families who married for monetary gain (Gies 68). The Church law stated that the bride must be at least 12 and bridegroom at least 14 years of
age. Also, marriage was accepted between slaves, freemen and serfs, and Catholics and heretics. However, Christians and heathens were not allowed to be married. In medieval times, a women’s marriage was permanent because divorce was very rare. Divorce was only allowed if one of the three church laws were broken: age, consent, and consanguinity (Gies 69). When a woman was married, her life was given to her husband to become a housewife and take care of his children. These common marriages during the medieval times set known roles for the women for the rest of their life, such as being a housewife. Medieval housewives had many things to accomplish for her family. They were instructed to be obedient to their husbands and act a certain way at all times. Men thought good housewives should...