Masculinity In The Wife Of Bath

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Throughout the entirety of her lengthy Prologue, the Wife of Bath boasts of her experience and mastery in controlling the male sex. Rather than being characterized by her weakness, the Wife of Bath is portrayed as a dominant and sexually powerful woman, thus contradicting the stereotypical portrayal of women as inferior beings. Throughout the Middle Ages, women were expected to submit to their husbands. The Wife of Bath, however, expects her husbands to submit to her, “An housbonde I wol have, I nyl nat lette, / Which shal be bothe my dettour and my thral” (155-156). The Wife characterizes her husbands as both her “debtor” and her “slave,” suggesting a severely unbalanced relationship in which the Wife has complete control. While unbalanced
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