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Essay about The Wife of Bath’s Tale

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“The Wife of Bath’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a story about a widow who took a pilgrimage to the town of Canterbury with an array of dynamic characters whose diverse backgrounds allowed them to share their stories with one another to make the long journey more interesting. The widow named Alisoun in the “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” told the tale of her experiences with her five past husbands and a story about a knight and a witch. She truly believed that for a woman to have a happy life she would need to gain dominion over a man; however one could assume this was programmed into her by her influential mother and her own religious doctrines. Accordingly, Alisoun argued that the woman must control everything in order to have a happy marriage; however, her life experience and the story she shared should tell her otherwise.
The widow Alisoun was seamstress by trade as well as a liberated older woman of her time in thought and action; for that reason, she traveled unescorted with a caravan of many diverse individuals toward the town of Canterbury. Hallissy submits, “The Wife of Bath’s array is flamboyant for a woman past forty, much less a widow. Her red stockings alone mark her off as improper. Her hat, as big as a shield, her five coverchiefs, her foot mantle about her hips, and her spurs on her feet indicate not only that she is ready for travel but also that she is ready for a new love. Extroverted in manner, assertive in speech, she defies authority by her appearance alone” (103). Each person on the pilgrimage shared a story with the others as a way of making the trip more enjoyable. The person whom had the most interesting tale would receive a complementary dinner at the end of their travel, co...


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...who had to change her appearance in order to attain the affections of her husband. Patterson states,
She loves men but hates them. She strives for marriage but sees it as a battleground. She seems to like her fourth husband but is ready for a fifth even before the fourth dies. She loves her fifth husband the best but is more abused by him than by any of the others. She sees one of the purposes of marriage as procreation but seems to have had, in five marriages, no children. She thinks women should have sovereignty but seems not to want it herself, or at least not for long” (100)
All things considered, the theory made by the widow in regard to dominance over a man to be what women desired most in order live a fulfilled marriage is flawed because it conflicted with the reality of her experiences, as well as the tale she told about the Knight and the witch.



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