This story was written by Chaucer, and it depicts one of the most discussed and developed female characters in literature. That’s because she is strong-willed, lusty, bawdy, and refuses to let any man control her existence or life. She takes the measures necessary to shape her destiny as she wanted, but not other people. Sometimes, this character is called the early precursor of feminism, but most people view The Wife of Bath as an anti-feminist rhetoric.
The Importance of This Tale
Basically, it’s one of the three tales about women written by Chaucer, but it’s the only one that offers a deep insight into the passions and life of women in this world. This Prologue is layered with some witty wordplay, comic relief, and other interesting writing methods used by the author. They definitely attract the attention of all readers.
Some of Its Major Themes
There are two main themes addressed by Chaucer in The Wife of Bath. The first one is centered on specific marriage powers and roles because the main character discusses her multiple marriages and effective tactics to gain more power, control, and financial independence by using her own body. The first marriage was when she was quite young, but her husband was an old rich man. It’s obvious that she was quite pragmatic about personal relationships with her first husbands because she used her body to gain more control and finances. However, her 4th husband was young and attractive, and this is when she started courting a young man without any financial independence. When this husband died, the main character decided to break her pragmatic rules and wedded that young man because of love. Unfortunately, his position was parallel to her early ideas.
The other important theme discussed by Chaucer in this story is dissatisfaction with existed religious ideas. The female character is a Christian, but she doesn’t trust the interpretation of religious authorities. She also defends her own rights to remarry after becoming a widow so that she disagrees with the teaching of churches. The main reason is that she wants to get more autonomy, just like most women in medieval Europe. This is how she outlines her effective strategies and methods for control. Finally, there are certain suggestions that the true happiness of men is realized only when they allow their wives to have a certain degree of autonomy. This is how the author sees gender roles and possibilities to change them. What are your views on these key themes?
This story was written by Chaucer, and it depicts one of the most discussed and developed female characters in literature. That’s because she is strong-willed, lusty, bawdy, and refuses to let any man control her existence or life. She takes the measures necessary to shape her destiny as she wanted, but not other people.