According to William E. Mead ‘the evils of matrimony, […], were a favourite theme in the Middle Ages’ . This means that marriage was a recurring topic and especially marriages that had trials and problems to overcome. Indeed, in the Canterbury Tales Chaucer uses for some of his tales the setting of marriage. In this essay, the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and the Franklin’s Tale will be used to demonstrate how Chaucer represented marriage and what possible functions could it have. With functions I mean in the texts as part of the plot as well as how marriage functions as a plot device. Both texts have been chosen as they deal with marriage and its tribulations and both offer an insight as to what marriage represented. The representation of marriage will be analysed in terms of the power relationship between the spouses and by the notion of ‘trouthe’. ‘trouthe’ according to the Middle English Dictionary (MED) has about 16 meanings, however this essay will focus on the notions of fidelity, commitment, devotion and honour. The Franklin’s Tale will be the first text to be analysed, then the Wife of Bath’s Prologue. Finally both texts will be compared to each other in how the representation of marriage differs.
In the Franklin’s Tale the reader learns about Dorigen’s and Averagus’ marriage. It is indeed a marriage with trials for both of them as Arveragus leaves his wife alone to fight in England and Dorigen encounters Aurelius, who courts her while knowing she is married. In ‘”In
Marriage in the 1700s and 1800s was judged by those closest to and the society that surrounded the couple which caused great strain within families. Both novels consult the idea of suitable matches and how love was valued above money and status. In an era filled with deep class prejudice, it was easier to marry someone from your own class as a woman since marrying below it was deeply frowned upon while marrying above provided its own issues which are explored in Pamela. If a woman did not have a substantial dowry, such as money or property, potential husbands from good families were unlikely. Pamela, for example, was an educated girl but yet she was still a servant with a family that has little to offer due to her father’s declined fortunes.
In The Wife of Bath’s Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer uses the tale as a fable to reveal the human nature of shallowness by its plot and characters. The story begins from the ancient days of King Arthur, when the “hero” of the story condemned sexual assault, but then was saved by an ugly woman. Chaucer created characters that are lusty, greedy, materially desires, and amazingly shallow in order to compare and comment on the lifestyle of the higher classes at the time. From the start of the story, Geoffrey Chaucer illustrated how foolishly shallows the young Knight is in comparison to the upper classman.
In the Wife of Bath’s, she broke all the stereotypes Medieval society thought a wife is. She tells the people that being married intercourse is part of marriage and God has made privates parts to make generations, not to waste in doing nothing. Being categorized or stereotyped in Medieval society was hard for married women in the Medieval era because often they were portrayed as disloyal, uncontrolled sexual beasts because of the lack of marriage
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s epic poem “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” and Giovanni Boccaccio’s “Federigo’s Falcon” illustrate what love is to a woman. Both works emphasize an ongoing theme of sacrifice. Boccaccio’s story dwells on a man sacrificing things he loves to prove he is worthy of a woman’s love using dramatic irony, while Chaucer uses power as a sacrifice for safety. Both works of literature depict sacrifice as a way to get what you want, ultimately losing what you love. Boccaccio presents a lusty knight flaunting his power and looks, when he takes the power from a virgin maiden it only made his power excel. .
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
“The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale” that we have been studying consists of several claims and arguments. Some of them are marriage is not a sin, women and men are equal, a wife should have the control over her husband, the husband should obey and follow his wife’s orders, and those men who did not follow the rule have to be punished by god. However, not all of the arguments are present in both the prologue and the tale. The main argument, which is present in both the prologue and the tale, is that a wife should be incharge in relationship and take control over her husband. At the same time, the husband should love and obey his wife by following her orders.
“The Miller’s Tale” and “The Reeve’s Tale,” two of the many stories in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, portray many similarities on the views of love, marriage, and immorality. Both “The Miller’s Tale” and “The Reeve’s Tale” portray what love truly means to the Miller and the Reeve. Chaucer’s two tales also exemplify the unfaithfulness of the wives to their vows of marriage. Additionally, the stories share corresponding similarities in the many instances of dishonesty and immoral features of the male characters.
Jane Austen Marriage is a paramount concern. Marriage is not only a personal question but rather it affects the whole social group, because marriage is just not a matter of love or companionship, but much more than that. It is a political, social and economic alliance between two people, and their families. One of the chief characteristics of Sense and Sensibility is the lack of a father figure, at that time the father’s used to take decisions on the future marriage of their daughters.
Chaucer uses both the tales of the Wife of Bath and the Pardoner to display similar morals which lead to the common theme that the best way to resolve a flaw is the realization and correction of faults. The Wife of Bath’s Tale demonstrates the theme that the recognition of a flaw is the best way to resolve it. The Pardoner narrates a story of a knight who has been punished for his lustful crime to a young woman. In order to be forgiven, he goes on a search to find what a woman most desires. He finds a woman who tells him that “a woman wants the same self sovereignty / over her husband as over her lover” (214-215).
The Wife of Bath and her tale are the most similar out of all the tales because they both share a domineering outlook over others. In the general prologue she is told to have had five husbands and is described as a looker, “Her face was bold and handsome and ruddy,” (Chaucer 39). In her prologue she goes more in depth of her time spent with her five husbands. Wife of Bath talks most about how she gains control over her husbands. For instance, her fifth husband was the controlling force in their marriage until he made the mistake of hitting her and telling her he would do anything to keep her with him and said, “My own true wife, do as you wish for the rest of your life…” (335).
In the book of Wife of Bath’s Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer shows the role of a woman being weak creatures while men are economically powerful and educated. Women are seen as inheritor of eve and thus causes
From the onset of Pride and Prejudice a marriage between two characters that truly love each other seems unlikely. Austen utilizes the foil characters and the main characters relationships, such as, Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, Mr. Wickham, Charlotte, and Mr. Collins to illustrate the styles of marriage on how society preserves marriage as a priority for wealth and social status, rather than for true love. Societies perspective on marriage demonstrates Elizabeth’s willingness to make the unusual decision to wait for true love, not settling for less, develop a love story. Austen demonstrates a conflicted marriage between Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet, showing how marrying for appearance negatively effects the marriage. Mr. Bennet married Mrs.
The Wife of Bath: An Analysis of Her Life and Her Tale The Wife of Bath’s Prologue stays consistent with the facts that experience is better than the societal norms, specifically those instilled by the church leadership. Chaucer uses the Wife of Bath to display the insanity of the church, but through switching and amplifying their view of men and chastity onto the opposite gender. The church doctrine at the time held celibacy in an idolized manner, forgetting the inability for humans to ever reach perfection, or live up to this standard. They also did not hold women in a high regard at all, again this is where Chaucer flips the role, as the Wife of Bath describes her five marriages in her prologue, essentially describing each as a conquest, where the result is her having all control.
Geoffrey Chaucer has greatly influenced English literature with many of his works. He comprised more than twenty tales in his most famous collections The Canterbury Tales. There are several of his many tales that expresses love, marriage, and romanticism to display an important message. The Merchants Tale in particular refers marriage and love between the characters. First, the story introduces the narrator Chaucer, whom tells the story of a knight.
The Wife of Bath states, “You have two choices; which one will you try? To have me old and ugly till I die, but still a loyal, and humble wife that never will displease you all her life, or would you rather I were young and pretty and chance your arm what happens in a city where friends will visit you because of me, yes, and in other places too, maybe. Which would you rather have? The choice is all your own” (395-403).