Women In The Wife Of Bath's Tale

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Written in the fourteenth century by Geoffrey Chaucer, The Wife of Bath’s Tale has been often considered either a story written in mockery of feminism or in light of it. Originally apart of his anthology, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer initially presents a lively and liberated woman named Alison who is ruminating the activities and societal standards that women have been lambasted for. Activities such as remarrying, virginity, and gender roles. For women in the fourteenth century strict and defined expectations were customary and set. Riddled with abusive and arranged relationships, damning social class, and no real autonomy, women who actually carried themselves as Alison were rare. With such strong defiance and willful rejection of these standards …show more content…

The old woman is responding back to her husband’s complaints and insults (being old, ugly, and poor) and proposes an easy solution. Moreover, she adds comments as to how her appearance and age are benefits because if otherwise she would run the risk of cheating on him, being young and beautiful. Albeit, infidelity in the fourteenth century was more dominant and accepted in males, this mention shows that some women were still out and about despite the strong controlling male presence. Eventually, the old woman gives her husband an ultimatum: to accept her old, ugly, loyal, and agreeable, or to change her and risk infidelity. Ironically, having gotten into his present situation because of abusing his male power the Knight takes his own advice and gives his wife what women want most in the world. “ My lady, my love, my wife. I put myself in your good hands. You decide which of these options will be better for yourself and for me. I don’t care which of the two you decide. I’ll be happy with whichever you choose...Then do I have control over your life and destiny because I get to make the decisions? Yes, you do. Because I think It’s best that way.” (SparkNotes Pg 13) The old woman valued this gesture of submission above all but chose neither option. In light of the newly found power, she decided to compromise and promised to be all: young, beautiful, and faithful. The following day the old woman is transformed and is now completely obedient to her

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