While the main character of The Wife Of Bath’s Tale began with little respect or understanding of women, after undergoing a long journey and learning valuable lessons, he seemed to better understand women, and give them equal respect. Several events from the story in particular triggered this change in the Knight: his initial punishment, reaction to the old woman’s request, and his decision on their wedding night.
The story begins with the Knight stumbling upon a young woman while traveling, and as the text states, “...Spite of all she said, by very force he took her maidenhead,” meaning he raped the woman. Word of his crime swiftly traveled to the king, and he was condemned to be executed. This was later revoked, and the queen sent him on his quest to find what women most desire. His initial action of raping a woman clearly shows that he feels no respect for women, for no person who treats others with dignity would do such a crime.
The Knight eventually came to end of his journey with no more information than when he first started, but he then met an old woman who promised to help him if he obeyed what she asked of him. When it was later revealed that she wished …show more content…
The old woman eventually gives him a choice; she will become young and beautiful, but an unfaithful wife, or she will remain her current age and stay true to the Knight throughout her life. Contrasting his actions in the past, the Knight chooses to say, “My lady and my love, my dearest wife, I leave the matter to your wise decision...Whatever pleases you suffices me.” The woman, joyful with his response, magically becomes both young and loyal and the two have a happy relationship. These words from the Knight show that he has learned from his past mistakes; instead of taking advantage a woman, or refusing to respect a woman based on appearance, he treated her with equal respect, and gave her the right to choose her own
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With the reoccurring element of trials that push the characters to the edge, the authors of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” comment on the nature of punishment and forgiveness. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the author uses punishment and forgiveness to force the reader to acknowledge human pitfalls and the stumbling blocks that pride and chivalry create. Chaucer, through his work in the “Wife of Bath’s Tale,” uses punishment and forgiveness to critique the character’s actions and the idea of autonomy. As the verse romance and the frame story progress, the reader is able to glean the effects of punishment and forgiveness on the story as a whole and the characters that create the story.
Both the Wife of Bath’s tale and Sir Gawain have trials assigned to their main characters by women. The knight in Wife of Bath’s tale is being punished for raping a young woman and his punishment is to find an answer to the question, “what do women want most?” instead of death. He learns that women want sovereignty, but in return for obtaining his answer he needs to marry the hag that provided him with the answer. The hag later transforms into a beautiful woman once she wins over the right to choose and rule at her own will.
The Wife of Bath believed that women should take mastery over their men (Pg. 914). She had five husbands and thought she knew how to control men. She also believed that experience, not authority by gender, should be respected in society. She also believed that members of the church who could not marry or consummate, knew less of sex and therefore, not as experienced or educated on sexuality as she.
Since the knight pledged his life he has to marry her, but is miserable because he has to marry an ugly old woman. The woman later asks the knight why he is miserable, and upon hearing his response she asks him which he would rather have and ugly old wife who is faithful or a beautiful wife who cheats. The knight then tells her to decide, trusting her judgement, and upon having what women desire most she turns into a beautiful
“The Wife of Bath’s Tale” begins with an unequivocal incident of sexual assault, yet how that assault and the question of consent are interpreted are complicated in light of Suzanne Edwards’ essay, “The Rhetoric of Rape.” Edwards’ essay provides a new historicist lens to provide a context in which the reader can perhaps reconcile the problematic nature of sexual assault that Chaucer inserts into the “loathly lady” narrative. The rhetoric employed by the law in regards to rape complicates Chaucer’s knight’s crime by creating an atmosphere of ambiguity that raises more questions than answers. The disconnect that occurs between the rapist and his victim seems quite abominable on the part of Chaucer and his narrator in that it is quickly forgiven
There are a couple of inferences that I could make about The Wife of Bath in “The Tale of the Wife of Bath.” The one big thing that I can inference is that the knight will take the wife of bath for his own wife. In the story it says,” that you will take me for your wife; for well you know that I have saved your life.” This shows that she will reveal how she helped him if he doesn’t take her as his wife. Those are some of the reason I picked that as the biggest inference in the story so far.
“For he, despite all that she did or said, by force he deprived her of her maidenhood.” This means that he didn’t care what she said, he did exactly what he wanted to do. In the story he is taken to the king and is handed over to the queen to be judged. She gave him a question to answer.
In the second-to-last stanza, it appears that the woman had decided that the knight had fully learned his lesson, and they were able to have a happy relationship. The last stanza seems to be an ideal that the Wife of Bath holds. Instead of wives being, “meek and young and fresh in bed,” the Wife of Bath wishes for men to be held to that same standard. She also prays that any man who, “won’t be governed by their wives” to be killed, meaning that she wants men to hold the same amount of respect for their romantic partner as anyone else, otherwise they should be punished. These stanzas offer a satisfying conclusion, while also adding in the Wife of Bath’s ideas of gender equality and respect.
(lines 93-98) It appears as if women are hard to understand and decipher when it is men who simply have a misunderstanding of the women’s needs. It seems as if the knight will never find his answer to such a simple question until he comes across an old lady who
Gender role refers to those behaviors and attitudes that are considered to belong to one sex. Gender role is based on femininity and masculinity that differentiate women and men by giving men some roles and women which results to gender inequality. There some work in society that is regarded to belong to women such as cooking, taking care of children and other less important roles while men are given roles that makes them superior than women. Most of the gender roles associated with women makes them inferior and creates a room to be oppressed. Gender roles are constructed by society and attributed to women or men.
In the fourteen century, men were always the superior, head of the household, the breadwinner, but women were always inferior, they would stay at home, do the house work, cook, and never would have a job. Well, times have changed. Women are reaching an equal status to men in political, social and economic matters It’s part of the idea called Feminism. In many ways the Wife of Bath displays many characteristic of women in the 21st century. Instead of being directed by men, she views herself as an independent person.
From the beginning of time people have always been trying to change fate and get the outcome that they want to see and experience. This aspect of everyday human life is shown in The Knight 's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories. The stories all come together to create a frame story about a group of people taking a pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage they tell each other stories to pass their time.
When he comes across a decrepit lady who makes him a deal, it saves his life. Subsequently, she forces the Knight to marry her. He’s compelled to corporate, and marries the old and hideous lady. During the story, Chaucer says, “He who accepts his poverty unhurt I’d say is rich although he lacked a shirt.
Also in the story the part where the knight commits the crime that propels the rest of the story, “He saw a maiden walking all forlorn ahead of him, alone as she was born. And of that spite maiden, spite of all she said. By force he took her maidenhead” ( 61- 64). In the first quote the knight learns a valuable lesson that when finding a woman to wife and love, you must evaluate her on how she will treat you and love you.