Evidence Of Female Dominance In The Wife Of Bath's Tale

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Evidence of Female Dominance in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” During the Middle Ages, women had very few rights and virtually no power. These medieval women were forced to live their lives under the ruling fist of their husbands, and unfortunately, most women were unable to do anything to change their lowly status. However, within the frame tale of “The Canterbury Tales,” by Geoffrey Chaucer, the Wife of Bath presents herself in a way that proves her desire to control any man that she is with. Despite her seemingly unsurpassable limitation of being a woman in the Middle Ages, she seeks dominance over her husbands with the use of manipulation to influence them. Throughout “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale,” there are many examples that prove that the Wife of Bath wishes to dominate men. The first example of the Wife’s dominative behavior becomes prevalent soon into the Prologue. In describing her marriages with her past husbands, she says that she used her “instrument” in order to win control (155). This statement implies that the Wife is a strong-willed woman who will do whatever she needs to do in order to manipulate her husband into giving her what she wants. She also describes that her husband “shal be bothe my dettour and my thral”(161). Not only does she wish to have power over her husband, she also wants him to feel as if he owes her something. Perhaps she believes that this feeling of debt instilledher husband’s mind will encourage him to act according to her will. As if reinforce her previous statements, she says, “I have the power durynge al my lyf / Upon his proper body” (164-165). This final declaration attempts to show the reader that the Wife will rule her husband as long as he is married to her. As the Prologue draws to an end, and the Wife begins to
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