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compromise and conflict
Topics: Marriage, Woman / Pages: 5 (1076 words) / Published: Nov 25th, 2013

Part 1

1 Wife of Bath sees marriage as a means for her to have sex and she has a strong sexual appetite. She feels that God gave women sexual desires and that it can't be wrong to give in to those desires because they are God-given. Furthermore, she says that she knows men also have strong sexual desires so she uses sex, or the lack of it, to control her husbands The Wife of Bath begins the Prologue to her tale by establishing herself as an authority on marriage, due to her extensive personal experience with the institution. Since her first marriage at the tender age of twelve, she has had five husbands. She says that many people have criticized her for her numerous marriages, most of them on the basis that Christ went only once to a wedding, at Cana in Galilee. The Wife of Bath has her own views of Scripture and God’s plan. She says that men can only guess and interpret what Jesus meant when he told a Samaritan woman that her fifth husband was not her husband. With or without this bit of Scripture, no man has ever been able to give her an exact reply when she asks to know how many husbands a woman may have in her lifetime. God bade us to wax fruitful and multiply, she says, and that is the text that she wholeheartedly endorses. After all, great Old Testament figures, like Abraham, Jacob, and Solomon, enjoyed multiple wives at once. She uses this power as an “instrument” to control her husbands.
2 She prides herself on having, by skill, force and nagging, gained mastery over her husbands, even trading sexual favours for gifts from them for his first three husbands. That is not the case with Janekin , Wife’s fourth husband.The Wife tells of her wedding to Jankin and her subsequent regret at marrying. She briefly mentions Jankin's striking her (making her deaf in one ear) for tearing a page from a book of his (she will return to this subject at line 788). Wife of bath is not a woman who cares about changing the world for the benefit of other women who are subordinate to men. She is not a feminist fighting for the rights of all women. She claims to know what pleasures men because she is experienced. She believes in giving men what they desire, which is sexual pleasure from her. This proves that she is not fighting for liberation of women. This is definitely a non-feministic view. She is using sex to manipulate men just as men do to women because she openly is saying that she will give herself to the man

Part 2
1 The "hero" of the story is a young knight, condemned to death for rape, but reprieved, at the insistence of Arthur's queen. His life will be spared if he can find out, within a year, what thing women most desire. The knight is troubled, but has no choice. knight has failed to find the answer he seeks, when, on the day he must turn for home, he sees a group of (24) dancers by a forest. They are fairies, and when he approaches, al of them disappear, leaving an ugly old woman sitting on the green. He tells her of his troubles, and she offers to give him the answer to the queen's question, but, in return he must grant her whatever she asks for, which he promises to do. She whispers the answer in his ear (a naive touch - there is no-one around to hear what she says, but the device explains the Wife's keeping the answer from her audience). On the chosen day, the knight gives his answer before the queen and the ladies of the court: what women most desire is to have sovereignty over their husbands. All agree that the knight has answered aright and deserves to keep his life, when the old woman reminds the knight of his promise: she now demands that he marry her. The knight marries the old woman "prively" (quietly, a "private ceremony" as we say today) but when his wife comes to bed, she rebukes him for his lack of enthusiasm. He replies by condemning her as ugly, old and of low birth. She retorts that she could amend all of these things within three days, but first she takes him to task for his attitude. She explains at length, (improbably) quoting Dante, Valerius, Seneca, Boethius, Juvenal and the scriptures, that virtue is not a matter of wealth but of character; she speaks more briefly of her age (which should earn his respect) and ugliness (which should save him from cuckoldry). She gives her husband a choice: she can remain old and ugly, but be an otherwise model wife, or she can be young and beautiful, but he must take his chances when suitors call. The knight has evidently learned his lesson because he wisely allows her to choose. She tells him that, since he has given her the sovereignty, she will be both loyal and by the morning as beautiful as any queen or empress in the world.
2 The Old Woman is arguing for a meaning of ‘gentilesse' which would consider the nobility of her character according to her gracious or generous deeds. She may be of low birth, but she hopes through God's grace to act with nobility.he point she makes to the Knight about her definition of ‘gentilesse' as being something which cannot be passed down by inheritance is especially poignant since the Knight, who regards himself as her social superior, has committed a most ignoble act
3 The thematic connection between both the prologue and her tale is that women should be in control. She believes that women desire most to be the supreme power or authority. she has the perception that marriage is women mastering over their husbands. In her life she had supreme power over her husbands, gaining their property and land by withholding herself till they begged.

4 she a negative stereotypes of women because she is doing exactly these things she is confirming negative stereotypes about women and proving that women are manipulative and deceitful. Even though her actions might at first seem to be rebellion against the male-dominated society in The Canterbury Tales, and more generally, the medieval period for women, there is very little that she does that is truly revolutionary or empowering for women of her time.

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