The Wife of Bath’s Tale features a character that seemed to resemble a feminist. But in Chaucer’s time, feminism was thought to be abnormal and the pilgrims
reacted negatively towards her for it, but The Wife of Bath had no shame about displaying herself as she really was. She was not ashamed of the fact that she had been married five times, and was about to marry again and she hid nothing.
The prologue of this tale showed that the Wife of Bath was not seen as an upstanding woman, nor did she desire to be seen as one. She portrayed feminism, almost as soon as she began speaking in the prologue, she explained that she had gone through five husbands, and she was on the look out for a sixth. She also admitted that she married for money: "I’ll tell the truth. Those husbands I had, three of them were good and two of them bad. The three I call “good” were rich and old. They could indeed with difficulty hold the articles that bound them all to me” (Bath 263). She even went to the point of saying that she didn’t value her husbands’ love. Then again, why should she? She received what she wanted which was money, control, and anything that she desired, they provided. The Wife of Bath thought that all women needed to be the controlling factors in marriage. That is how she believed she would gain her husbands’ money. She claimed that if women can’t marry for money, they must marry for sex, for those are the only two things that really matter. Women must have control of their husbands, according to the Wife, and she is proud of the fact that she governed her husbands. If she had to put them in their place, she would make her husbands feel guilty, even if they had nothing to feel guilty about. The Wife exaggerated with her accusations, showing how she got the better of her husbands by taking the offensive. She prided herself on having the skill of power and complaining to gain mastery over her husbands. She would even trade sexual favors for gifts from them. She would end this by satisfying her husband's desire: love…”Yet he felt flattered in his heart because, he thought it showed how fond of him I was” (Bath 267). It was all a game to her.
How much of a difference was it that the Wife was not even...