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The Canterbury Tales - "The Wife of Bath's Prologue" discussed.

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Amy Chopeck English 200-13 Prof. Kavanagh November 5th 2004 The Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer around 1837 starts off with twenty-nine persons on a pilgrimage. The pilgrims are in a friendly competition of who can tell the best story. Although they are telling these stories for their own entertainment, the stories should be carefully analyzed because they illustrate the speaker's character and opinions, or show the relations of the travellers to one another during the Pilgrimage. Readers are prone to interpret The Canterbury Tales as if each story were an isolated unit because that is how they appear in text, but we must allocate attention to the links embedded throughout, and thus all of the stories will bind together. This essay will focus on "The Wife of Bath's Prologue" and its relationship to "The Clerk's Tale" , and will explain the wife's views on inequalities experienced by women in her time. "The Wife of Bath's Prologue" is connected to " The Clerk's Tale" though their common focus of marriage, which provokes further investigation into the connections of the two, and how they are related. ...read more.


She also spoke of how she schemed with her fifth husband, and made him completely submissive to her will. Resultantly, The confessions of such a woman with an open desire for sex, and who flouted chastity had a shocking effect on the Clerk, who practiced the celibate life. The way that the Wife subdued her fifth husband would specifically annoy the Clerk, as the fifth husband was also a Clerk of Oxford. "The Clerk's Tale" is an indirect response to the Wife of Bath who stated that women desire complete control over their husbands and lovers. The Clerk puts expresses a completely opposite view when he illustrates the sketch of a completely submissive woman. A completely submissive woman however, is not what the Wife of Bath seen as an ideal; she was a woman far ahead of her time. In the Wife's culture there were many ideas and customs which dictated extremely submissive, lives for women. The Wife of Bath, contradicts many of these unfair customs and asserts her own overbearing assessment of the roles of women in society and in relationships. ...read more.


She shows that they are comparable in morals to men who have also had more than one spouse. Subsequently arousing the question why it is acceptable for men to have as many wives as they like. In conclusion, the stories of The Canterbury Tales must be regarded as an interrelated set, as "The Clerks Tale" would not exist without "The Wife of Bath's Prologue". The clerk tells his tale as a rebuttal to the Wife of Bath's story, each tale has an opposing view about which sex is more dominant than the other. The Wife of Bath is a woman who speaks her mind without being afraid of her reputation, which was very uncommon during this time. Her belief about the fair treatment of women which was also a new perspective to people of that time. The Wife had many disagreements with the order of her society. Her whole attitude is that of scornful, though good-humoured, portrayal of what the Church teaches in that regard. The Clerk and the Wife can be seen as opposites from the very beginning but are none the less essential to each other and the book as a whole. ...read more.

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