The Power In The Wife Of Bath's Tale

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Power as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the possession of control, authority, or influence over others.” It connotes having the upper hand over what happens to somebody or something. In the book, The Wife of Bath’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, he talks about a kingdom that had a lusty knight who raped a lady, and was charged to find out what women loved the most. In the knight’s pursuit to answer this riddle, he discovers that women want sovereignty and power. Power is a very important theme in the book. The impact power has is delineated in the characters of the lusty knight, the loathsome lady the knight marries and the women of the land. To start with, the first person who shows power is the knight- albeit doing so in a negative…show more content…
The story talks about one knight's encounter after raping a woman, being given a lifeline by a woman, and being told the answer to the riddle by a woman whom he later married. The story seeks to paint how a kingdom where women are in full charge will look like and goes contrary to the trite “men-in-charge” theme. The pivotal question to ask then is- what exactly do women want? Is it love? Is it an alluring prince that can sweep them off their feet? Well, perhaps, it is money? The answer was given by the knight when he faced the execution committee. It was sovereignty that women desired the most. “Women desire to have sovereignty/ As well over their husbands as their loves/And to be in mastery them above./ This is your greatest desire, though me you kill./ Do as you like; I am here at your will” (Chaucer 1044-1048).” There is something quite significant about what happens after the knight gives this answer- the whole place was silent. And like Plato said, “silence means consent.” No one among the lady there could challenge that answer. That meant he was correct in saying that women want to have sovereignty. Indeed, women want to have the upper hand in their homes and in affairs. This can explain why the wife of the
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