Contradiction In The Wife Of Baths Tale

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Mischa Schultz Period 2 28 October 2014 Contradiction: The role of women in the Wife of Baths Tale “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect at the same time.” - Aristotles words on the law of noncontradiction. Life is full of inconsistency, there is not just black in white. This is exactly what philosopher Jaques Derrida tries to eliminate with his criticism, deconstructionalism. To take down the boundaries of binary opposites – white//black, beginning/end etc. is to reveal the seemingly infinite possibilities within the text. No story is what it seems, many parts of the text, whether they are accidental or incidental can betray the original meaning or message of the play/story. The Wife of Baths tale is a perfect example, its self contradicting story within a story and that within the Canterbury Tales, there are many aspects of the play that have inconsistent elements and an overall contradictory theme. At the beginning of the story the lust controlled knight rapes a young maiden. When he is put to sentencing the women of the…show more content…
In fact women were not even allowed to learn. However a few times in the Wife of Baths Tale women are referenced as being wise, “The noble wives and maidens stood nearby (who were considered wise).” (Chaucer 945-950) The wife writes the story as if the whole journey is the knight trying to learn and gain wisdom from women, which is a huge contradictory of the time period. A life is saved because of a women’s knowledge and when faced with a decision the knight looks to the women and asks her to do what she believes is best, “Choose now, she said, one of the two: that I be old and ugly till the day I die, and be to you a true and humble wife…or if you’d rather have me young and fair…” (Chaucer 1219-1227) A woman having any type of knowledge whatsoever is very contradictory to this time

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