Canterbury Tales Compared to Jane Eyre
A significant in the world has always been inequality of gender, and still, women face its challenges. For example, many parts of the world do not grant the same freedoms as men so women are denied many rights both political and social. How did the origins of gender inequality in the past centuries start? It is not entirely clear why people have viewed men and women so differently. Fortunately, as the first seeds of feminism began to take root, people began to realize that men and women should be treated as equals politically, economically, culturally, and socially. Even though the existence of gender inequality has still not yet been completely resolved across the globe, Western societies undoubtedly have made great strides in pioneering the gender-neutral attitudes of today. This progress lends itself to many sources, among which an important aspect is contained in literature, allowing authors to share their ways of thinking with their readers. By incorporating their stand against about gender inequality into their works, sometimes overtly and other times subliminally, authors have swayed the opinions of their audiences, often times winning their hearts and minds to the cause. For this reason, it can be said that without literature, women might not have had the same rights as they do today. Charlotte Brontë and Geoffrey Chaucer are a couple examples of British authors who incorporated their own beliefs about equality of women into their works. Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” share this vision from different approaches. In fact, both strongly oppose the predetermined fate for women chosen by British society during their respective time periods ( Middle Ages and Victorian era) and believe that women deserve to equals who have respect and honor.
As Brontë’s Jane begins her new life in Thornfield, it is not long before the protagonist is completely in lust with Mr. Rochester who begins to consume her every thought. Soon, Jane’s happiness is reliant upon him. Thus, when they finally confess their love for each other, and Mr. Rochester nonchalantly proposes marriage, Jane responds with abrupt hostility using questions like: “Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton? –a machine without feelings?” Declining a marriage proposal to a man of such wealth would be unusual for a woman of the Victorian era, but Jane no longer tolerates the way in which Rochester appears to treat her like an object. Instead, she demands to be paid the same level of respect and honor that she offers him. Tired of relying on Mr. Rochester for happiness, Jane decides to decline his marriage proposal in spite of the fact that she is in love with him. She continues, claiming that, “It is [her] spirit that addresses [his] spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, standing at God’s feet, equal . Here, the speech is an obvious example of feminist thinking because Jane argues it is not right for her to be treated as inferior to Mr. Rochester due to her sex. So it is really obvious that the female protagonist’s behavior goes against the popular opinion of Brontë’s peers, proposing everyone, regardless of gender, is equal. Victorians’ understanding of gender by seems to pull apart notions of what it means to be a man and a woman. Obviously then, Jane Eyre is used to defy Victorian masculine Likewise, Geoffrey Chaucer explores women through a female character that asserts her independence. King Arthur discovers that one of his knights raped a young maiden and condemns him to death. Yet his queen gives him another chance to save his life under one condition: he has to discover what it is that women desire above all else. After searching for about a year , he encounters a hideous old woman who grants him his answer. When the day of his judgment finally arrives, the knight confidently states that “Wommen desire to have sovereinetee As...
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