Wife of Bath Essay

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Geoffrey Chaucer expresses present day realities throughout his novel The Canterbury Tales. Throughout the Wife of Bath’s prologue, the wife illustrates her actions to be equal to those of a feminist. The wife pleads to stand out without conforming to societal standards. Feminism is defined as the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. During the 14thcentury, it was likely that the Wife of Bath was thought of as a destructive rebel. In modern times our society considers the Wife of Bath to be a revolutionary feminist who refuses to conform to the expectations of women during her time. The thought of women continuously desiring attention from a man and always being sought out to express promiscuous actions is a reality revealed in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue. Lines 263 through 270 of the Wife of Bath’s Prologue reveal the wife’s view upon how men illustrate the actions of women. “And if she is ugly, you say that she covets every man she sees; for she will leap on him like a spaniel until she finds some man who will buy her wares.” The quote explains that this woman is not able to persuade a man or even capable of being pursued because her looks are not appeasing, she must use her sexuality in order to have her way or get what ever she wants. Though this may be a negative view of women, this simply says women receive no recognition. Whatever a woman does, it is never good enough for a man’s desire. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue also expresses the idea of women not pleased or wanting to be controlled neither having a master but instead searching for sovereignty in relationships. The 14th Century was a very relevant time of which women were controlled by their husbands. “We don’t love a man who carefully watches where we go; we want to be at large.” (Lines 321-322) This quote simply explains that women do not want to be controlled, as men do – they also want power of themselves and to go about things as they please....
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