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A Tale Of Women Essay

1067 words - 5 pages

The Canterbury Tales are a series of tales written, by Geoffrey Chaucer, about the journeys of pilgrims to Canterbury. Geoffrey Chaucer did not begin writing these tales until he was in his late forties and due to his late arrival with this piece, Chaucer died before he could complete these epic tales (Librarius). Within these many tales Chaucer wrote one in particular tale of a character named the Wife of Bath. He also characterized her with a prologue and wrote a tale from her point of view. The Wife of Bath represents the new age of women coming about within the Middle Ages. Women were no longer excepting being property to a man nor being a simple house wife; women were beginning to stand up for one another and have a voice in society. The Wife of Bath had dominant, forceful views on how women should treat their husbands and believed that women should have power and control.
Chaucer first offers a prologue that describes the characteristics and the personality of the Wife of Bath. Chaucer describes her as a woman of great dress; however, her dress is not of elegance but of pure boastfulness. She is an attention seeker with a view that most women of this time did not have. The Wife of Bath believes that the only way to a man’s heart is through sexual pleasure and she believed all men should experience her pleasures. She claimed to know all the remedies to love’s misfortunes and art (Chaucer). She was married five times with many lovers in her earlier years. This comes quite shockingly because she is not described as being a beautiful woman. The Wife of Bath has a rosy red complexion with gapped teeth. Gapped teeth, in the Middle Ages, symbolized charm to many men. She also wore extravagant head-dresses which were mostly red in color. Red at this time was considered to be a vibrant, energetic color which parallels perfectly with the Wife of Bath’s personality.
Geoffrey Chaucer next writes a tale from the Wife of Bath’s point of view. The tale is about a young, lusty knight who stumbles across a beautiful, young maiden in the King’s court one day. Stricken with lust and power the knight rapes the young maiden. When this news crosses the court, King Arthur automatically wants to have him sentenced to death. King Arthur’s queen and acquaintances request that the king give the knight a second chance and he approves. The queen makes a deal with the young knight. He must find out what women want most in the world and return to the court within a year and report his findings. The knight sets off but soon realized that there is no one answer to this question. He asked many women this question and each woman had a different answer. A year had gone by and the knight began to make his journey home when he came across a group of women in the deep forest. When he approached the women they vanished at once and only one old, ugly hag remained. He immediately asked her the difficult...

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