• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Reality of Medieval Woman

Extracts from this document...


Ryan Robertson The Reality of Medieval Women The image painted of medieval women in history is often not an accurate one. It seems that women were often forced to take a step-back by the then male dominated society. Sources from the middles ages heavily emphasised traditional male roles. History was often concerned with males and females were seldom mentioned. Ruling was conducted by men as were politics and military affairs. The influence of the Church also played its part in the sidelining of women, as it had a very misogynistic point of view. For these reasons our picture is often inaccurate. This essay will look at the lives of medieval women of all classes and the reality of their lives during the middle ages. For many medieval women their day would have been centred around tasks of the home. Men would often, it has been said, need to keep a close eye on their wives as a result of a woman's perhaps voracious libido. This view of woman's sexual behaviour would have been common among men of the medieval period and gives us an understanding into why there was such male disapproval of women. A man was seen as having authority over his wife and was to use her to "satisfy his appetites with prudence and regularity and without abandoning himself to any vertigo of the senses, that might diminish his authority" Women and the Family - Christiane Klapisch-Zuber (1987). ...read more.


This kind of view would have gathered great support because the male dominated attitudes that the Church as an establishment held. The Church can be seen to exercise its power in its holy war against women by stripping women of their lands on the basis of accusations of fornication. The Church during the medieval period tends to look at women through the story of Adam and Eve. Eve, was the one who ate the fruit of the tempting snake and was cast out of Eden for doing so. It is almost as if blame is pointed at the female as a species. As women faced the general disapproval of men they had to endure a more personal form of disapproval from their husbands. Having authority was in the hands of the husband and it was important that he upheld his authority, often being quite dominating and exercising his right to beat his wife. This would be common place among spouses. Things like the woman's nature were required to be managed, and as a mother she was required to set an example to her daughters to be the same. A wive's daily tasks, were designed to keep her docile and obedient to men. Wives were not always confined to the home however. ...read more.


The Church paints a picture of women's sexuality as them being "the seducers" and certainly the female would not have been passive. The source Constructing the Damsel in Distress - Terry Jones (2004) tells of the expectations of women to be sexually active and how they in turn would have the same expectations of her husband. If a man could not live up to a woman's expectations then it has been known for her to make this clear to everyone. Also in Terry Jones's "The Middle Ages" he writes of a man who had this experience, Walter de Fonte. In 1292 his wife claimed he was impotent and was forced to perform infront of a bed chamber of wise older women who could then decide the truth of the accusations. It seems that the lives of medieval women do not lie on just one side of the coin. There appears to be a kind of tug of war as regards to their historic experiences where women are seen as being male dominated which is the traditional view to revisionist historians telling us of the opposite. It is true that women worked hard and so much was expected of them and that they faced legal complications and they also faced the influence of the Church but there are enough exceptions to know that life as a medieval women could have been quite balanced. Terry Jones describes their relationship in history as a "varying dynamic", as it is still. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays


    In this poem it generally sums up the popular view that women of medieval times were stuck indoors, passive, lovesick, and were unable to handle life in the outside world. It tells the tale of lady weaving in a tower on the island of Shalott.

  2. In this essay, I shall use primary sources to measure the short term significance ...

    The results of the Expedition and the short term consequences can be mapped against all these documents. The letter was a private communication between the President, with all the authority of his office, and a trusted subordinate, therefore highly reliable as a source.

  1. Research Paper; The Important Scientific Discoveries of the Renaissance: Medicine

    He worked in the largest hospital in France, the H�tel Dieu, and then split his time working in the French army too. He was in the army, though, when he made his first major discovery. He found out that by giving a wounded soldier an ointment he put together instead

  2. Mideival Outline Essay

    The relations between both Shrewsbury 3 Christian Churches were afterwards hostile. Among the most important events of the High Middle Ages were the Crusades. The First Crusade was launched by Pope Urban II to help the Byzantine Empire against the Seljuk Turks and to free the Holy Land from the Muslims in 1096.

  1. How important was the takeover of Kingship during the Medieval time-period?

    Within the first year of his reign, William encountered extensive rebellions from the northern borders of England, those who still felt aggrieved to Harold, and disliked change. With this William hit down hard, destroying crops and killing all men who opposed, which even by medieval standards at the time, this was regarded as an exceptionally malicious act.

  2. Los Inicios de Kaminaljuy

    pero como la fase siguiente tuvo mayor enfoque en la cer�mica en la cual tuvo un gran progreso que en la arquitectura y se denomino arenal por el continuo uso de arena y materiales parecidos. 2. Fase Miraflores Durante esta fase, se demostr� un asombroso avance en cuanto la construcci�n

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work