Wife Of Bath Character Analysis

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What social group and its typical features does the Wife of Bath represent, and what idiosyncratic characteristics does she possess?

The Canterbury Tales, a famous work by Geoffrey Chaucer, narrates a story of pilgrims’ travelling to Canterbury Cathedral. The author depicts the characters from all social classes with a satiric insight to their virtues and faults, which is a distinctive feature of medieval genre: estates satire. The fourteenth-century English society was divided into three classes: the clergy, the military and the laity. One of the pilgrims, the Wife of Bath, is a member of the laity, a representative of wifehood.
Medieval people were judged based on their external physical beauty as well as on their garments. A clothing was
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Stereotypically, if not saint, the woman must be deceitful, manipulative, dangerous for men and it is possible to interpret the Wife of Bath in this way. However some may say that she is a feminist heroine, expressing her feelings and desires openly, rebelling against the domination of men. This interpretation has some evidences, for example, she evokes arguments with her last husband over a book Valerie and Theofraste which contains a stories about the most untruthful wives in history. Frustrated Alisoun wants to destroy the book, she provokes Jankyn and in a result of the fight, she loses hearing in one ear. Nevertheless, her behaviour cause laugh rather than admiration for her attitude to life and marriage.
The Wife of Bath stands for the portrayal of the middle class fair sex in the 14th century England. Even though, there are presumptions that Chaucer is a proto-feminist, the gender divisions presented in The Canterbury Tales are clear and it is difficult to consider Alisoun a revolutionary female character. Definitely, she stands for sexual freedom, yet despite of the fact that she is a woman, she does not see that her situation wrong, contrarily she is eager to find next husband to bring him to submission. Her attempts to dominate men are aimed at her personal profit, she has no feminist

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