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The Impressive Wife of Bath Essay

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When talking of the Medieval literature, one of the most outstanding works might be The Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer, which recorded stories told by 29 pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. Among them, the sixth story, The Wife of Bath's Tale, left the strongest impression on me. After some further study on it these days, it came to me that there are three points in this character that impressed me most: Her fashionable dressing, her sinuous marital experience and her overseas adventures.
The tale gave an exhaustive portrayal on the dressing of the wife of Bath: Her kerchiefs were elaborately woven; her hose was in vibrant red; her shoes was polished new. All of these traits in her dressing led us readers to the image that how fashionable this women should be! I can hardly imagine how such a Medieval women could be so stylish! As far as I know, women at that time were quite humble. They barely wandered out in the street and had to depend completely on their husbands for the basic supplies, let alone keep up to the latest fashion and keep their face “red in hue”. On the contrary to this Medieval stereotype, the wife of Bath resembled women of modern times more —— it was not until the social movement by the feminists in the 1960's did women have their own freedom and can decide how to dress themselves and make themselves more decent and attractive. The wife of Bath, living in a city where cloth-making was quite prosperous, like today's fashion capital of Paris, probably had a tension to compete herself with other contemporary women in fashion. Likewise, women of modern times tend to possess the bags, clothes, shoes, perfume, watches, etc. of the latest style, just to show their or their husband's enormous wea...


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...lgrim probably as well. She had enjoyed all the natural beauty that women at that time could never been able to see. To the wife of Bath, nothing was impossible! She loved adventure, what was something seemed intangible to folks at that time and even today. No one I acquainted with has ever been to so many places around the world as the wife of Bath did!
It is a really a sheer difficulty for me to imagine such a mythical medieval woman. What she wore, believed and did all seem unbelievable and impressive to people even in modern times. It is even quite difficult to compare her with an average woman in modern times. Given that Chaucer did not tend to express the wicked and rebellious spirit by moulding such a woman in the Canterbury Tales, her audacity to swim against the dominant cultures and beliefs at that feudal age is really a surprise each time if mentioned.


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