Essay Comparing The Wife Of Bath's Tale And Sir Gawain

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Both the Wife of Bath’s tale and Sir Gawain have trials assigned to their main characters by women. The knight in Wife of Bath’s tale is being punished for raping a young woman and his punishment is to find an answer to the question, “what do women want most?” instead of death. He learns that women want sovereignty, but in return for obtaining his answer he needs to marry the hag that provided him with the answer. The hag later transforms into a beautiful woman once she wins over the right to choose and rule at her own will. This tale is based on the Celtic Sovereignty myth about a king marrying a goddess who initially appeared to be hideous, but with the willing kiss from the king, turned into a beautiful woman. In Sir Gawain, the knight is being tested to see if he will choose virtue and chastity or the beauty and promiscuity of the Lady of the Castle.
If Sir Gawain had his way with the Lady of the Castle, he would have been killed because like the animal hunts, Gawain is prey to the Lady, who puts his chivalry, loyalty, and chastity to the test by trying to seduce him. Through this romantic litmus test, Sir Gawain is being tested to see if his moral values can withhold challenges such as the temptation of beauty. Morgan Le Fay creates this challenge to test Arthur’s knights and how strong their principles are. Gawain meets this challenge and ultimately succeeds,
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Looking back on a previous interaction between Sir Gawain and The Lady, this can be seen as an accurate statement. When Sir Gawain tells The Lady that she has power over him and to choose for herself what to do, it seems as if the knowledge of having this power over him, prevents her from seducing him any further for that day. The power of having sovereignty makes a woman feel secure and consequently leads to a more comfortable life for the
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