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The Wife Of Bath As A Demonstration Of Power

858 words - 4 pages

In the “Wife of Bath’s Tale”, the wife lusts for power over men and for independence, as well as contributes to the religious disputes that take place in the Canterbury Tales.
In the “Wife of Bath’s Tale”, the wife executes her right of power due to common mistreatment of women in The Canterbury Tales. Alison, the wife, intends to gain power through the use of her body. She essentially speaks for all women and their need of independence and subtle power over men, however she just takes it to the extraordinary extreme. She says, “what most mattered was that [women] be cosseted and flattered. That’s very near the truth it seems to me; A man can win [women] best with flattery. To dance ...view middle of the document...

Her husbands’ are victims of sensuality. This parallels how it is typically men whom treat women as sexual objects (such as in the “Knight’s Tale” when the men are quarrel over Emily and discussing wanting to taint her virginity), but it is now ultimately a woman in charge, thus disintegrating the satiric norm of improper treatment towards women in the thirteenth century.
In the “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, Alison discusses her antics that enable her to be a free, independent woman. She tells the knight that what women “most desire are these: Freedom to do exactly as we please, With no one to reprove our faults and lies, Rather to have on call us good and wise” (283). She places emphasis on her desire to remain independent. She strongly believes in herself rather than authority of a man. By being independent, Alison disputes the traditional expectation for women to be dependent. The Wife of Bath is intended to contradict the misogynistic ideals of her time, in which women are typically socially and financially dependent sheep to the man they end up with. Alison is exposed as a character of mass contradictions. She contradicts the ideals of society with her search for independence. Instead of the tradition women bowing to man’s every whim, Alison expects her man to do as she pleases and for him to “be both [her] debtor and [her] slave And tribulation to the grave Upon his flesh, as long as [she] is his wife” (262). During the thirteenth century, it was...

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