Wife Of Bath's Tale Essay

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Chaucer: Feminist or Not Chaucer is a controversial author who lived during Europe’s Medieval Age. Best known for his work The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer is now recognized for his objections to the societal norms of his time expressed through this work. Within The Canterbury Tales is a story called the “Wife of Bath’s Tale,” where Chaucer expresses his views on the treatment of women. Similar to how Chaucer made points against the medieval caste system in the same collection of stories, he also worked to break women out of their traditional gender roles. Because of this, he could be considered one of the first feminists in the modern world. In contrast to the vocal feminist of today, however, Chaucer’s efforts on behalf of women were done discreetly,…show more content…
Chaucer tackles a number of issues regarding a husband’s attitude towards his wife, including her position financially. When attempting to make one of her husband feel guilty about how he is treating her, the Wife bring up the matter of money; she inquires, “Why do you hide the keys of coffer doors? / It's just as much my property as yours” (266). Chaucer makes the point that in a marriage, the two partners are equal; through this, Chaucer promotes the view that women should have control over financial matters, just like their husbands. Likewise, Chaucer advocates for women’s rights to express themselves freely in a male dominated world. The Wife of Bath points out the hypocrisy of men when they tell women not to dress too vividly since it poses a danger to their chastity. This, however, conflicts with the Bible, which tells women that they should be adorned (267). Using religion as a means of justification, Chaucer gives woman a very strong argument for their ability to control how they present themselves, rooted in the very beliefs of Medieval Europe. Clearly, Chaucer felt that women should be allowed to enjoy the same rights as their male
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