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Discuss the Portrayal of Alison's character from her descriptions of the first three husbands.

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Introduction

Discuss the Portrayal of Alison's character from her descriptions of the first three husbands. Her prologue views are all along similar line, except from the occasional metaphor she is easily understandable, and does not seem to have any complexity in her character. An open character, what you see is what you get. First three marriages are all mismatches; age, wealth, sex drive and personalities all differ between Alison and her husbands. Immoral motives for marriage 'the thre were goode men, and riche, and olde'. She's greedy: 'The keyes of thy cheste awey from thee' also however could be a metaphor for her withholding sexual favours from them. Her greed is also shown by her motives for marriage. Older rich men who give her everything when they die. She also gives sexual favours for presents; 'I governed hem so wel... to bring me gaye things fro the faire' She's a not a romantic, she marries for wealth, control and social position. She's controlling. She clearly realises quickly how to control her husbands, and utilises tactics she lists all women have in line 401; 'deceit, weping, spinning'. ...read more.

Middle

yet holds back and asks for money or gifts when they do, so she is firmly in control. She's an attention seeker. We see in the general prologue that she dresses in red (danger/sex/lust/heat) and she keeps the attention of her male audience throughout by accusing them 'Thou seyst...' despite the fact she's actually meant to be talking about her first three husbands. Again showing the fact that the first three husbands are simply a generalisation of her view of all men. She's very colloquial, confident and certainly feels comfortable speaking to an audience. She is your stereotypical chatty woman, and is fairly friendly towards her audience, not directly insulting to any of them despite the fact they're predominantly male. She's comfortable talking about things many people would keep quite unless with close friends such as her sex life, which she is happy to share to the full with a group of mere acquaintances. She's very lax about sex... her sexual metaphors could ever be seen as a subtle method of flirting. ...read more.

Conclusion

She makes it even clearer by never once victimises husbands one to three, only glorifying her victory over them. The wife is definitely to a degree intelligent. This is shown by clever metaphors that not all of her audience would understand such as the 'cheste' and 'keye'. The chest can be sex, it can be her love, and she clearly means its money. She shows no emotional weakness from her descriptions of husbands 1-3. There are 2 generalisations in the description of the first three husbands. They are men's complaints about wives, and the wife's criticisms of men. The description of the first three husbands revolves around a series of insults she hurls at men in general: Kaynard Lecchour Knave Lorel Shrewe Barel-ful of lies Dotard Fool She also despised their sexual offerings 'feyned appetit, and yet in bacon I never delit'. Meaning she faked an orgasm and they were crap in bed...unable to 'hold their statut'. She calls refers to her relationships with these three husbands as war. She is clearly he victor in each case. Instead of sexual pleasure and companionship, from these first three marriages she received money and land, as Chaucer cynically explains 'All is for to selle'. ...read more.

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