Feminist Theory Lens

1381 Words6 Pages

Overthrowing the Limits Set on Women The Wife of Bath is a strong and prominent character in Chaucer’s The General Prologue. Unlike other characters, she radiates this sense of power that comes from her being, along with the material items that make someone “powerful” during this era. In his work, The General Prologue and The Wife of Bath’s Tale, The Wife of Bath is utilized to defy a patriarchal society and ownership, but still reinforces the idea of the male’s reduction to body/appearance in women. When looking at these attributes through a Feminist Theory Lens, there is a lot of material to be interpreted and distinguished. Chaucer’s work was believed to be written in 1386, a time where the world fell into a large patriarchal society. Men were believed to be in control and women were simply seen as subordinates. “A patriarchal society consists of a male-dominated power structure throughout organized society and in individual relationships” (Napikoski). Yet, Chaucer discusses and talks about The Wife of Bath as someone who is powerful, even more powerful than her spouses. He does this through describing her attire, some of which was red which symbolized wealth and also through the statement that she has been married five times. “Hir hosen weren of fin scarlet reed,/ Ful straite yteyd, and shoes ful moiste and …show more content…

Chaucer writes The Wife of Bath as a character who is superior to her husbands and as a woman who embraces her sexuality to the fullest extent. Through this characterization, she is able to defy the patriarchal society that is threatening to oppress her. She breaks the chains of ownership and finds a way to reverse the gender roles, by instead “chaining” her husbands. Yet, despite all of this, The Wife of Bath still succumbs to the idea that women are only relevant through their physical attributes by not only herself, but Chaucer as

Show More
Open Document