Wife Of Bath Stereotypes

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Often in literature, authors write about contemporary issues not considered in their time. The “Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer tells the story of a group of characters who go on a pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. Pilgrimages lead to either a shrine or a holy place; in this story the pilgrimage leads to Canterbury. Canterbury became a destination for pilgrimages when King Henry II killed Thomas Beckett, a church figure, because he could not control the church. After he was killed, Becket became a saint, making Canterbury a common place for pilgrimages do to Becket’s body being buried there. In the tale, one of the characters in Chaucer’s story, the Wife of Bath, has sparked a debate among people about whether Chaucer addresses modern ideas about women or if he enforces gender stereotypes. However, Chaucer’s characterization of the Wife of Bath proves that he enforces gender stereotypes.…show more content…
Many people may see this description as Chaucer demonstrating modern ideologies. For example, when he describes the wife he says “her hose were of the finest scarlet red”(line 466). Many believe that because of his nonjudgmental tone toward her wearing scandalous attire, it makes her a strong feminist figure. They say she defies the stereotype of women from this time. However, this description proves the opposite; the scarlet hose oversexualize her, and the rest of her description describes the ideal women during this time period. He says she has “gap-teeth, set widely, truth to say...large hips, her heels spurred sharply,”(line 478-483), attributes that men yearned for in a woman. Women dreamed of appearing curvy and having gap teeth so that men would marry them. Therefore, since the Wife posses these attributes it makes her a stereotype for women of this time not a feminist
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