The Wife Of Bath's Prologue And Tale

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Janice Abrams Instructor: Kyle Long English Composition 271-Section 506 28 October 2009 The Wife Of Bath’s Prologue and Tale: Feminist versus Anti-Feminist Chaucer’s Wife of Bath is a fictional text that identifies factual ideas supporting feminism and the position of women. Though being aware, the text is written in a much earlier time period, the Wife of Bath’s ideas still reflect and describe how women are perceive in the 21st century today. The Wife herself, gives us her experience on her authority and power over her husband which she is very proud of, during the prologue. Which then ties into her Tale about the Knight and receiving the answer of what women most desire. I think Chaucer was trying to voice his opinion about feministic ways through a female speaker, hence Alisoun (the Wife), though contradicted his ideas in both the Prologue and Tale. In my opinion this lead to both feminist and anti-feminist thing about the text. Some essayist also address the anti-feminist views present in” The Canterbury Tales” and that maybe Chaucer’s use of the character Alisoun was meant to overthrow these views or possibly reinforce them (Trudeau). Chaucer begins the Prologue with Alisoun, the Wife of Bath, described as bawdy, lusty, strong-willed and one of the most fully developmentally discussed women in medieval literature (Trudeau). Viewed as an early precursor of feminist thought, some scholars argue that the majority of her Prologue can be seem as anti-feminist rhetoric (Trudeau). As an example, Alisoun first seen as behaving like a man, gaining power over her men by using her body and beauty to get the things she most desired. Alisoun behavior somewhat foreshadows her Tale. Though Alisoun, I agree that she seems to see herself as a feminist, one critic believes that its quite unlikely that any man of that time saw
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