Those two characters share a certain amount of characteristics that differentiate them from the other women of their respective periods. One of them offers us an insight into the role of women in the Late Middle Ages and the other talks about a female character from the age of the Queen Elizabeth. What have the most interest for us are the way they behaved and the features which made them different from the rest of the women of their societies. I will make a comparison between the tales they belong to, the settlements, the contemporary society and the way they were supposed to behave.
The Wife of Bath’s tale shows a very peculiar female character whose name is Alisoun. Her actions seem to be a rebellion against the male-domination inside the medieval society, but actually, not all of her acts meant to be revolutionary or intended to empower the other contemporary women. That story belongs to Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and has a prologue which lasts twice as the tale. In the prologue, she does not mean to present herself as a woman with independent thoughts and actions because in some cases she uses the Bible, which is deeply linked with the men’s authority in the Middle Ages, so what we see is a negative female stereotype, with a twisted and misunderstood interior. For example, in lines 65-68, she talks about the Bible and tries to justify their behavior with it, saying: “Where can ye saye in any manere age
That hye God defended marriage
By expres word? I praye you, telleth me
Or where he commanded virginitee?”
What she actually reflects is a complex, contradictory and wrong inside. For instance, when she talks of her last husband, she is already not seen as the strong and self-confident woman that she pretended to be, she shows herself as a contradiction. That man was younger than her and he beat her, but she loved him as he was and she loves him because of it.
At first sight she may seem an independent and revolutionary woman against...
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