Canterbury Tale's the Wife of Bath

Topics: Marriage, Husband, Wife Pages: 3 (801 words) Published: April 7, 2013
K. Kalpen
C. Laney
Eng 102
March 4th , 2013
The Wife of Bath Is Not A Feminist
Chaucer used the Wife of Bath to push his thoughts on feminism through her attitude and views. Throughout Canterbury Tales, she explains her ideas of women and how they are by telling stories of her varies marriages. She elaborates on the negative stereotypes towards women and her thoughts begin to form the idea that she is a feminist. Really, the Wife of Bath is far from a feminist; therefore, to call her so would be insulting.

In the beginning of the her tale, the Wife of Bath alludes us to the idea that she agrees with female polygamy; she believes that as well as men, women should be able to marry more then once. In the times of which Canterbury Tales was written, women in the Medieval Era were expected to be widows for the remainder of their lives after the death of their husbands and were not to remarry. The Wife of Bath thought otherwise. She remarried five times and even categorized her husbands. The first three where old and rich, they were called, “The Good” and her last two husbands received the title, “The Bad”. Being married so many times would give the thought that the Wife of Bath was a cursed black widow, she only remarried after each husband's death; therefore, it would not be considered much of a scandal because she severed each husband “until death do they part”. To support her idea of why female polygamy was only right for women as well as men, the Wife of Bath told stories of how men in the Bible, like King Solomon, “...had thousands of wives...and would to God it were allowed to me to be refreshed, aye, half so much as he!” (pg. 259 of Canterbury Tales) She believed it well that she had a God given right to be remarried.

The five marriages of the Wife of Bath had different bases. She married her first three husbands for financial security. They were very old and not as wise as she. The Wife of Bath used her body and wit over her husbands to gain control...
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