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The Impressive Wife Of Bath Essay

1002 words - 4 pages

When talking of the Medieval literature, one of the most outstanding works might be The Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer, which recorded stories told by 29 pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. Among them, the sixth story, The Wife of Bath's Tale, left the strongest impression on me. After some further study on it these days, it came to me that there are three points in this character that impressed me most: Her fashionable dressing, her sinuous marital experience and her overseas adventures.
The tale gave an exhaustive portrayal on the dressing of the wife of Bath: Her kerchiefs were elaborately woven; her hose was in vibrant red; her shoes was polished new. All of these traits in her dressing led us readers to the image that how fashionable this women should be! I can hardly imagine how such a Medieval women could be so stylish! As far as I know, women at that time were quite humble. They barely wandered out in the street and had to depend completely on their husbands for the basic supplies, let alone keep up to the latest fashion and keep their face “red in hue”. On the contrary to this Medieval stereotype, the wife of Bath resembled women of modern times more —— it was not until the social movement by the feminists in the 1960's did women have their own freedom and can decide how to dress themselves and make themselves more decent and attractive. The wife of Bath, living in a city where cloth-making was quite prosperous, like today's fashion capital of Paris, probably had a tension to compete herself with other contemporary women in fashion. Likewise, women of modern times tend to possess the bags, clothes, shoes, perfume, watches, etc. of the latest style, just to show their or their husband's enormous wealth and cultured taste in arts, as well as enjoy the happiness of the riches and honour they procured from the competition. If this is right the truth, however, I have to assume that the wife of Bath was really audacious and her style of dressing remain standing-out against the background she lived and unbelievably fashionable to me.
Her fashionable dressing was not the only point that made herself impressive to us readers of different times, what impressed me ever more was her sinuous marital experience. To all of our surprise, this women had five husbands and she even decided to held all of her five wedding ceremonies at the church door! Divorce at that time was severely banned by the church, but the wife of Bath dared to rebel against such a religious regulation. It was all up to her to decide whether to start a new life with a new husband if she thought her old husbands were not capable of satisfying her, and with such an idea, she was five-time widowed. Wives, even today, should...

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