The Wife of Bath’s behaviors are questionable but are inherently aided by the social injustices that face women of this time period. The Wife of Bath discloses that for her first three marriages she sought out older wealthy men for sex and money. Her intentions included making her husbands fall in love with her and then making them have enormous amounts of sex until they die. In addition, the wife elaborates on her occasional tumultuous tirades of accusing her husbands of being unfaithful to her. Her uproars chided her husbands into persistently obliging into her every request.
In the poem “The Wife's Lament”, by Leofric, he depicts women in the medieval era as meaningless, and unimportant people. However, this all changes by Shakespeare's powerful female characters; Desdemona, in the play “Othello” and Cleopatra in his play “Antony and Cleopatra”. The roles of women have changed from the medieval era from the fifth to fifteenth centuries to the renaissance era which was from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. Most women in this era had arranged marriages and were forced to marry men that their family had picked out for them. If women chose to get married, the men would have the full rights to take over any property she owned, and she would have to forfeit and be subservient to their new spouse.
In Malory’s work, the subjection of women continues in marital relationships which he portrays as distant and false, occasionally loving. When the knights left in their quest to find the Holy Grail, the women cried, including Gwenhwyfar who “departed into her chamber and held her, so that no man should perceive her great sorrows” (Malory 851). Married women avoided crying even in front of their husbands, so as not to trouble them. This action demonstrates an emotional disconnect between spouses in medieval marriages as described in Le Morte d’Arthur. In addition to being somewhat distant, Gwenhwyfar and Arthur’s marriage causes great conflict.
Sanger was a feminist who believed women would never be equal to men until women were able to decide when they would become a mother. Because of her feminist views, she put a lot of blame on men in her essay for unwanted and failing pregnancies, arguing that women are enslaved by men's desires because the women are left on their own once they are pregnant and have a child. With pregnancy, Sanger argues that the women suffer more greatly than the men. Sanger says that, “In an ideal society, no doubt, birth control would become the concern of the man as well as the woman.” Throughout her entire essay she constantly portrays women as the victims, because their feminine spirits are “bondaged” by men’s desires. Her arguments are based more on her opinion, than absolute facts.
In literature, women were portrayed unflatteringly: the unfaithful or deceptive wife, the bossy old woman, the gossip and the gold digger. There was a lot of emphasis put on urging women to be meek, obedient and respectful to their husbands. In real life, women were also often oppressed, in that men created all the laws, including ones that prohibited them from marrying without parents’ consent, from divorcing partners, from inheriting anything if any they had any surviving brothers and from running businesses. Women in medieval society were all but
Society makes life a competition for people especially for women, they never seem to be content with what they have. Most women want to live up to societies expectations, but lose themselves while trying to do so. In the 19th century many young French women were forced into marrying suitors that would not be their ideal person to marry, but they had to go on with the marriage. Many times people fall in love after marrying a person they were forced into marrying or rather they just accept it. In this case Madame Mathilde did not accept her marriage and her frustration of not having the luxurious life she keeps fantasizing about.
[who] can’t go against his word” (294).This is conflated with the episode in which Mr. Jones, troubled by his grief on not having a son and his wife’s coldness towards him, comes looking for the prostitute at the inn. He discovers Mary to be the whore but that does not stop him from having sex with her. The superficiality and duplicity of the marriage institution is thus exposed as wives are regulated to be monogamous, whereas husbands are free to seek pleasure and comfort elsewhere. The challenge to this prejudice was clearly enunciated in the feminist stance of Mary Astell given in A Serious Proposal to Women (1668), which seeks to subvert the patriarchal institution of marriage that entraps women and the struggles and triumphs of such a stance is manifestly represented Donoghue’s characterisation of
In uttering these words, Lady Macbeth accuses her husband of being too feminine. She notices that he is too feminine and humane to kill the king. Even though they are quite powerful already in society, the Macbeths believe they are still somehow without purpose. Their marriage itself is an obvious indication of this as neither seems content with the qualities of the other. Lady Macbeth especially expressed criticism towards her husband for her wants in him.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the theme could be the questioning of the position of women within the institution of marriage, especially the subordination of women in marriage as the society then already held women in such tight social constructs. The narrator bound in this role of submissive is due to her husband and is her doctor gives him more power over to decide for her, having superior wisdom and maturity that leads him to misjudge, and even patronize, dominate his wife, all in the name of “helping” her. The narrator is reduced to acting like a cross, petulant child, unable to stand up for herself without seeming unreasonable or disloyal. Even if he loves towards her this power ultimately leads her to
Mills states that “After marriage, the man had anciently (but this was anterior to Christianity) the power of life and death overhis wife. She could invoke no law against him; he was her sole tribunal and law.” (1870). Women’s rights at the time were dismal, and as soon as she married a man, she had to completely surrender to his will. A woman would have to completely follow what she wanted of him, not anyone else. No wife could levy charges against her husband, unless there was truly grave abuse going on, according to Mills (1870).