The Canterbury Tales: Wife of Bath In the Hollywood blockbuster Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone plays a devious, manipulative, sex-driven woman who gets whatever she wants through her ploys for control. Stone’s portrayal of this character is unforgettable and makes the movie. In book or film, the most memorable female characters are those who break out of the stereotypical “good wife” mold. When an author or actress uses this technique effectively, the woman often carries the story.
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, he portrays the Wife of Bath, Alison, as a woman who bucks the tradition of her times with her brashness and desire for control to present a woman’s point of view and to evoke some sympathy for her. In the author’s time, much of the literature was devoted to validating the frailties of women. However, in this story, the Wife is a woman who has outlived four of five husbands for “of five ” (P 50) is she. She holds not her tongue, and says exactly what she thinks, even if she contradicts others, even Jesus. For in the Bible it states that Jesus “Speak of the Samaritan: /’Thou hast y had five,’ quod he, /’And man that now hath thee/Is nat then ‘” (P 16).
Despite this quote from the holy writ, the Wife states that ther are no other arguments “Eek we I woot he [Jesus] said that my /Sh olde let fader and modern and take me, /But of no men cion made he [Jesus] — /Of bigamy e or of ” (P 30).
... sort of thing would be considered unacceptable for a wife to handle. Women were not trusted and thought to be highly susceptible ... names, a formality not typically extended to ones wife. Prostitutes are the only women in Athens who could control large sums of ... husband normally addresses his wife as "woman." The Greek word for woman, is Gone, literally means "child bearer." Wives are not allowed to ...
She maintains her position and dismisses the one contention in the Bible by stating in relation to the above quote “Wat that he men te ther by [she] can, /But that I axe why the fifth man/Was noon to the Samaritan? /Howmanye might she han in marriage? /It here I never tell en in my age/Upon ” (P 20).
A true account of her brashness is when she states that sex organs are for pleasure as well as function. She states that “Inwifhood won I use my instrument/As freely as my Maker hath it sent” (P 155).
She displays her ruthless side when she makes her cheating husband, the fourth, think that she is cheating and revels in this victory by saying “in his own greece I made him frye” (P 493).
It is obvious that the Wife of Bath is no submissive woman who thinks what she is told to think.
She is opinionated and blunt, qualities which present her views accordingly. As she is not docile, the Wife must be something to the contrary, and of courses he is, to a great degree. The Wife strives to gain complete mastery over her husbands. And gain mastery she does as “[she] had de hem holly in my hand/And sith that they had de me al hir land/What I take keep hem for topless/But it were for my profit and my ese” (P 217).
The Wife’s secret is simple, “For half so boldly can ther no man/Were and lie as a woman can” (P 234).
She does something to every husband to maintain her control. However, Jankyn, her fifth husband, believes in everything that disparages women, which is exactly what Alison detests. She lashes out with all she has left: “[she]with [her] fist so took him on the cheese/That in our fir he film backward adown” (P 799).
Her deceptive scheme is to pretend to die from the blow dealt by Jankyn.” And with his fist he smoot [her] on the heed/That in the floor I lay as I were deed. /And what he how still that I lay, /He was aga st, and wold e have fled his way, /Til a tte last out of my slough I bride: / ‘O hast ou slain me, false thief?’ I said, / ‘And for my land thus hast ou modred me? /Er I be deed y it won Iki sse thee'” (P 801).
Obviously, this if very effective for Jankyn is so distraught that he pleads “My own true wife, /Do as thee lust the ter me of al; /Keep then honour, and keep eek my est at” (P 825).
... true obedience -' 4. So that many wives obeyed their husband. However, according to the article ' Men, women more confused about roles'. Lillian explains the ... roles' and ' Men, women more confused about roles'. The first different image is that many wives liked to live with their husband together in ...
And after he gives her control, “we had de never deb at” (P 828).
She has won this battle of wits, but it seems as though Jankyn has none. One way or another, Alison has made her puppets dance, completely under her dominion.
Her tale backs up her philosophy, as the main point is that “Women desire to have /As we over and hir love, /And for to been in maistre him above” (T 1044).
The Tale backs up the Prologue and pleads for the emancipation of women. Alison is her own ideal of what a woman should be. By gaining sovereignty, she has the power. Chaucer has presented us with a fresh view of women, uncharacteristic of his time. The Wife of Bath is unique, and her defining qualities allow what the author thinks of women to reveal itself clearly.
She is an immoral woman who has done whatever she has needed to do to get what she wants, and the author makes no apologies.