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That Knight is One Lucky Duck: The Wife of Bath Essay

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One of the Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer is a tale told by the Wife of Bath about a knight. In the story, the knight is in trouble for raping a woman. The punishment for such a crime in that time was death. The knight is in front of the king and queen, expecting to be condemned to death. Something truly weird happens. The queen decides that since the knight is such a handsome man, he should be spared. That’s just unfair. Sadly, though, I can think of some modern instances of people being treated unfairly on account of their physical appearance. Anyway, this knight dude must have been a major hunk to avert such punishment with nothing but his looks in his defense. The queen gives him one year to find the answer to a question. Of course, when I read that, I thought, “Oh, wow. He’s getting off really easily. A year is more than enough time to find the answer to any question that I would be able to ask. This queen is dumb.” The next few words changed my mind. The knight was to find the one thing that all women desire. Then, I started something along these lines. “Ok, lady. Humankind has been in existence for hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions, and no man has ever come close to finding the answer to that question. How is this dumb knight going to find it in a year? Have you lost your marbles?” I guess I was wrong, because sure enough, a year later, the knight found the answer. He met an old woman. He asked her and she told him the answer. The knight told the queen that answer, and he was set free. Hurray! I’m sure that he was just about to ride off into the sunset and go do some knightly stuff, but the old woman kind of ruined that for him. The knight remembered that he owed the ol...


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...nto a total babe.

The moral of this story is you can’t trust the system, man. The knight went against what was common for men to do in that era, and he was greatly rewarded. Patriarchy is just a silly result of the misconception that men are better than women. Chaucer intended to disprove that misconception and dampen the effects of the strict patriarchy in England. I love the way he uses satire and his obvious understanding of the way young men’s minds work to convince men to treat women as equals. I’m starting to sound a bit like a feminist. Yikes! I agree with Chaucer that men and women should treat each other as equals, but some feminist are truly crazy and irrational! Chaucer is a very smart man, as shown by the way he structured this story. I believe that it was probably very effective for changing the way men treated women. It’s a very nice story.


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