Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Wife of Bath

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The Tale of the Wife of Bath's prologue is almost the main story. She is "warming up" the crowd for her actual tale when she tells them about her having multiple marriages. In the time which she lived having more than one marriage was unheard of; she seemed to prove that what she was doing was just and okay in the eyes of the Lord.

"Men can interpret and gloss the text up and down, but I surely without doubt that God expressly told us to increase and multiply; that pleasant text I can easily understand. I also know very well that He said my husband should leave his father and mother and live with me. But He made no mention of number, of bigamy, or of octogamy." (Chaucer, 15)

Not only did she justify that she may have more than one husband in her life, but that he must leave his family and join hers. She uses examples from the Bible as well to rationalize her point "I know very well that Abraham was a holy man, and Jacob also; and each of them had more than two wives, and many another holy man did, too." (Chaucer, 154) The Wife of Bath has now put the proof of the Bible on her side validating her rightness to marrying multiple times.

Virginity is the essence of a pure soul and that God himself was a virgin. Well the Wife of Bath states loud and clear and with no hesitation or sign of remorse that she is not perfect; therefore she leads her life being sexually active with her partner. "He (God) spoke to those who wish to live perfectly; and, ladies and gentlemen, by your leave, that's not me. I will bestow the flower of all my years on the acts and fruits of marriage." (Chaucer, 155) She continues with arguing what the sexual organs are for. There are two reasons, she explain, one is to urinate and the other is to conceive. Are they for having just to tell the gender of the person? She argues not "Tell me, also, why do we have organs of reproduction, and why were we created as we are? You can be sure they were not made for nothing." (Chaucer, 155)

Custom Essays on The Wife of Bath

This Wife of Bath seems very cocky and headstrong, having the nerve to say that she thinks of her lover as her slave. She mentions that she does not care sometimes of the feelings of her husband, only to act like a master and keep reeling in his love with the trap she has set. This Wife of Bath seems vicious in her feelings toward the men that she has vowed her love to; and I think that Chaucer is describing her like this to make her sound mean and like a slave trader. Not just does she say that her husband is her slave, but that she controls his body as well. He has no say over his own flesh because he wears a ring that binds him to the Wife of Bath.

"I don't deny that I will have my husband both my debtor and my slave; and as long as I am his wife he shall suffer in the flesh. I will have command over his body during all his life, not he. That's just the way the Apostle instructed me, and he told our husbands to love us well. I am completely in agreement with that opinion." (Chaucer, 156)

I have never read anything where a woman would say such a thing. I think Chaucer is describing her as a hard-core feminist and a merciless lover. As a woman I am upset that she would think this way about her man, this brings women to the level of the men that do this as well. If Chaucer is writing to make me dislike her, he is a successful writer.

"They had given me their land and treasures; there was no longer any need for me to be diligent or respectful to them to win their love. They loved me so well that before God I set no value on their affection. A wise woman will constantly busy herself to get a lover when she has none, but since I had them completely in my hand, and since they had given me all their property, what need was there for me to try to please them, unless for my own profit and pleasure?" (Chaucer, 157)

Is this woman even in this for love. No wonder she has failed five marriages and keeps going for more she squashes her men like flies once she has the security of their love locked in her hand. She claims that once they love her and give her anything that she should not waste her time returning the love. I do not see the justification in treatment like this to the opposite sex. This woman is an egotistical feminist and a conniving narcissist. How can these people listening to this not get up and leave or punch her in the face? Well I am really getting carried away… let me continue…

So this woman would control her husband and play "hard to get" so hard that it was impossible to get her; and in addition, she would nag and complain to these men if she saw them talking to another woman or doing something she does not approve of. As long as she drained the life from her husband, she considers herself "good to go (to the next.)" She even said that God had given women the right to do this to their men. "God has given a woman the instinctive ability to deceive, to weep, and spin as long as she lives. And so I can boast of one thing in the end I got the best of my husbands in every way, by tricks, by force, or by something else, such as constant complaining or grumbling." (Chaucer, 160)

In conclusion, Chaucer's opinion of the Wife of Bath, according to the way he wrote her prologue, was that she was indeed a self witch who was not playing the game for love. I could tell that Chaucer saw her as an insecure woman who had to pick off the ones who had seen a spark in her. The way she seemed to talk was as if she had already planned this conversation out in her dark room at home, bored with not doing anything at all because no one was around. Her tales could have been true, but Chaucer made her sound like a phony… at least he did to me.

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