Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – Wife of Bath and Feminism

Chaucer portrays the Wife of Bath as if she is a hypocrite, although, beneath the words, there is a great deal of wisdom involved. The approach that I take, is the view that this tale is advice for women to take. This tale teaches women that there are times one should be a feminist and times you should not. If a women would be a feminist all her life, she probably wouldn’t get anywhere in her life or with any man. If a woman were not to have a feministic character anytime of her life, she would be overwhelmed by most men, of work or whatever he case may be.

Early in The Wife of Bath, there is a quotation said by the wife of bath supporting the idea that she is feministic. “I don’t deny that I will have my husband both my debtor and my slave; and as long as I am his wife he shall suffer in the flesh. I will have command over his body during all his life, not he. ” In other words, she is saying that she will have total control over herself, her husband, and their household and very specifically, “… not he”. This can be interpretated that her husband will not have the same privileges as er in the sense that he is like a ‘slave’ and she will ‘command’ over him..

This quotation seems as if the Wife of Bath is leaning toward the feministic opinion. “Nevertheless, since I know your pleasure I’ll satisfy your physical pleasure. ” This was said by the Wife of Bath and supports the non-feministic view. The reason this is considered non-feministic is because the woman is giving in to the man’s desire which goes against feministic beliefs. The Wife of Bath has a choice of not giving in to the man, but she decides to let the man have pleasure for is desire not hers, because she has experienced sex before and she knows how much men enjoy it.

This quotation obviously goes against feministic beliefs, leaving an unanswered contradiction about the Wife of Bath. My view on The Wife of Bath is negative. I feel that this tale is very vulgar and contains too much involvement of sex. Besides the fact of the tales vulgarness the Wife of Bath was a well told story and the message was well received. This story might seem hypocritical at first, but between the lines there is some helpful advice for many women in the world today.

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