The Wife Of Bath's Tale Essay

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The Medieval era of British history was founded upon a rigid structure of government and church, but became more dynamic through the 14th and 15th centuries. The Middle Ages, extending from 1066 to about 1485, experienced major social shifts due to war, economic changes, and the effects of the Black Plague. Because of this, the social hierarchy began to allow for some upward mobility through the evolution of the merchant class and the shift from feudalism to mercantilism. In spite of the advancements made during this time, there was still great social injustice and many groups and individuals were pushed to the fringes of British society due to their differences. Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of The Canterbury Tales, was able to observe and satirize the differences in the …show more content…

Chaucer’s use of the “other” in his satirization demonstrates his criticism of these major institutions in a humorous and witty manner. Chaucer’s satirization and subsequent othering of the nobility was perhaps his most vicious. Through his comparison of two different knights portrayed in “The General Prologue” and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” Chaucer criticizes the uncaring and selfish nature of the upper class. He uses several different elements of othering in his description of the knights. While the knight described in “The General Prologue” demonstrates honorable characteristics of chivalry, such as “generousness and courtesy,” the knight in the “Wife of Bath’s Tale” is considerably less of a gentleman (GP 46). In “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” the knight is othered several times by different people; he is alienated

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