A Dissertation On The Wife Of Bath — страница 2

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natural for a person to tell a story that is an allegory revealing his own beliefs; it is in this way Chaucer effectively and consistently characterizes the Wife of Bath, thereby making her one of the most fully developed characters out of her fellow pilgrims. Despite the many strong positive characteristics of the Wife of Bath, she still has some very noticeable flaws, through which Chaucer voices some of his negative opinions of women. Adorned in ostentatious clothing of ?fyn scarlet reed?, she gives the impression of being ostentatious and ready to flaunt her gains from her deceased husbands (Moore). She uses marriage as a way accumulate worldly wealth: But since I had them wholly in my hand, And since to me they?d given all their land, Why should I take heed, then, that I

should please, Save it were for my profit or my ease? This perpetuates the stereotype that women are avaricious and willing to sacrifice their integrity to marry for the attainment of riches. Furthermore, the quote, ?Deceit, weeping, and spinning, does God give/ To women, naturally, the while they live?, implies that all women are naturally dishonest, and had this quote emanated from a man, one can be sure the Wife of Bath would have objected! In addition, although Chaucer makes her liberated sexually, the Wife of Bath appears to be a nymphomaniac who equates lust with love and bears the deformity of her overtly amorous lifestyle–her being gap-toothed. Sex, as unfortunately perceived by the Wife, is both a weapon and a means to fulfill a fleeting worldly desire, rather than a

greater bond of love and spirituality between two people. Such a view of sex indicates the situation in which the Wife of Bath most likely entered marriage: a young girl, betrothed to a man so far removed from her by age and experience that they never reach an enlightening understanding of each other, defines the acts of ?love? physically rather than emotionally and spiritually. Prior to when Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, the idea of a woman being strong, astute, and quite able to hold her own against any man was probably revolutionary to a select few, but to the general public, preposterous. By fabricating such a character, however, Chaucer set forth into a new territory where women could be compared as people with men, dealing their strengths and weaknesses onto the table

impenitently. Even though the Wife of Bath?s strings are being manipulated by a man, she is still an undoubtedly believable character, full of as many flaws and contradictions as real people are even today. Works Cited Chaucer, Geoffrey. Selected Canterbury Tales. Trans. J. U. Nicholson. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Moore, Andrew. Study Guide to the Wife of Bath. August 28, 2000. Sussman, Paul. Chaucer Revisited. October 25, 2000.