The Wife Of Bath Women Analysis

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“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist . . .”
In asserting the natural inferiority of women, further seen in the use of the ‘south wind’ (which lends the narrative a degree of naturalness, a quality that makes it appear obvious), a gulf is created between men and women, endowing one with purpose and the other with no purpose other than the creation of her better. Allisoun subverts this notion in two ways. For one, she is skilled in weaving and thus capable, to some extent, of an independent income in the marketisation of her own goods. However, notice how this description is closely accompanied with a description of her physical appearance as well, her gap toothed appearance ( a popular symbol for a woman who indulged in sex a lot) and the birth marks on her face and private parts. It is almost as though in the process of marketisation of her
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This, once more, points towards an attitude that judges women for their sexual output and attractiveness alone. The old woman would be incapable of the two things her sex is desired for; procreation, and the sexual pleasure this would require. She uses the rhetoric of reason to get her young husband to love her, yet her premise rests on her position as someone who has lost beauty and is placed at disadvantage. The old woman begins to ‘selle’ her virtues of faithfulness , and in this she commoditises her identity and establishes once more the hierarchy of husband and wife; and the position of the wife as someone inferior to her
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