The Wife of Bath

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THE UNEXPECTED The Wife of Bath assaults the restraints of the society on women. She builds up her own belief system and attacks the other beliefs by criticising the church and the priest’s view about the virginty. She stands up for the idea that how can virgins occur, when there is no multiply and increase. She protects this idea, also, by saying ‘God commanded us to increase and multiply’. Virginity is seen as a kind of perfection and it is not ordered but recommended.Virgins liken to white bread made of the purest wheat, whereas the wives be more like coarser bread made of barley, by her. The Wife says, ‘Some people believe to be clean in both body and soul, others not.’ She, also, criticizes the society’s thoughts on virginity by telling us ‘ Why were male and female genitals made so perfectly for each other if they were not meant to be used? ‘. From society’s point of view, genitals were made only for peeing and seeing the difference between man and woman. The wife says from her experiences that this is not so. Her experiences be her guide throughout her story. The wife’s experiences on marriage makes her powerful. She attacks the society’s consideration of marrying once. She gives many examples from Bible and other books to back up her argument. Like Abraham, Lamech and Jacob who had more than one wife. Then why would women be ‘bad’ if they had married more than once, she says. Chaucer makes use of satire and humor to question the society’s norms. Using a female character makes it more powerful to challenge the authorities and the norms. The wife likens to the priests who use the literature badly and wrongly to vindicate their acts. The wife’s misusing of literature shows that she is unschooled. The wife shows us herself to be in opposition with the patriarchal society she lives in. When she talks against society’s norms, she talks in a dialogical

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