An age-old debate has occurred since the Renaissance and is still prevalent in writing today; which gender has the power in a relationship? Generally, the answer is men, but throughout the stories of Medea by Euripedes, Eveline by James Joyce, Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Wife of Bath’s Tale by Chauncer, women have found ways to gain some power. Whether it is through relying on a man, becoming an individual or being submissive, it cannot be denied that women in literature have evolved and begun to gain power.
Body 1: Women have gained power through relying on a man.
“Eveline” – doesn’t leave father/family
“It was hard work – a hard life – but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life” (1211).
“What would they say of her in the Stores when they found out that she had run away with a fellow?” (1210). “Wife of Bath’s Tale” – King’s wife
“So ceaselessly, he gave the queen the case and granted her his life, and she could choose whether to show him mercy or refuse” (775).
Body 2: Women have gained power through becoming an individual. “Medea” – Medea kills and leaves Jason with nothing
“You may cease your trouble, and, if you have need of me, speak,if you wish” (42).
“You will never touch me with your hand, such a chariot has Helus, my father’s father, gien me to defend me from my enemies” (43). “A Doll’s House” – Nora leaves Torvald to discover who she is
“My duty towards myself” (1121).
“It’s no use your trying to forbid me any more” (1121).
Body 3: Women have gained power through being submissive.
“Taming of the Shrew” – Kate is broken by Petruchio
“Wife of Bath’s Tale” – the old lady commits herself to the Knight