Discuss the idea of women from Chaucer's potrayal of the wife of the Bath.

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kankanivarsha | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

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 Geoffery Chaucer's Wife of Bath was written in the 14th century in the year 1392 where the middle aged women were denied social voice, even exsistence as social and historical beings. Not only were they almost entirely from public life but their exsistence as part of social totality was ofetn ignored. This familiar ideology of the feminine in the Wife of Bath. Here we find in the Wife a character standing ufor women and giving her voice to the cause of the women.

Chaucer has also made her attractive by presenting her physival apperance in an extra oridinary way. For example she is dressed not in sober colours but in scarlet stockings with a huge unfemine hat. She does not keep quiet but laughs and jokes loudly in chruch, where she should display charity. She is deaf which metaphisically refers that she is stubborn and doesnot have any kind of interest in listening to others. Her gaped tooth reperesents gaps in her morality. she even defaets the real purpose of marriage which is to "wexe and mulitplie". Even though she uses such as biblical references in order to justify her polygamus marriages in a rhetoric way which makes her an expert debator.

She was not a conventionlly submissive woman. Instead she challenged the rules of the 14 th century society which placed womaen in a position where they were expected to obey not dominate. But here, the wife of bath tells us how she dominates her first three husbands stuggled to dominate her fourth husband and had her full staisfaction only when she succeded in dominating her fifth husband.

Setting her identity as a wife to be the stongest she takes up the role of a preacher which was forbidden to women. But the wife enthusiastically confronts the church's tecahing on marriage and conduct of widows.

Thus from this we can see both the wife of bath and the old hag in the tale were the product  of Chaucer's creation which tells about the struggles that a women had to make inorder to gain an upper hand in the marrigae at that time. Chaucer's presentation of wife of bath as a feminist in a male dominated society challenges the restrictive norms which bounded the women at that time 

 

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