The Wife of Bath: A Literary Analysis Essay

:: 4 Works Cited
Length: 1091 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is an important part of his most famed work, The Canterbury Tales. One of the most respected highly analyzed of all of the tales, this particular one is important both for its character development and its prevailing themes. It seamlessly integrates ideas on society at that time with strong literary development. This work stands the test of time both because of its literary qualities and because of what it can teach us about the role of women in late Medieval society.
In terms of literary quality, Chaucer went great lengths to give all elements a bit of attention. The work is primarily about a knight who is pardoned from a rape on the condition that he acquires the answer to one of life’s most difficult questions. He is sent out on a quest to figure out what women want from their men, and he is eventually successful in this task. Chaucer uses the action and the plot along with strong character development to make this a compelling story. First and foremost, he develops the Lady of Bath very well in the prologue to this work. In her article in the Chaucer Review, Susan Carter writes at length about the ways in which Chaucer uses strong character development to hammer home his points. She writes, “If Chaucer is not actually endorsing the strident voice he gives to the Wife, he is certainly making play with textuality, with subjectivity, and with the construction of ideas about sexuality” (Carter, 2003). Alongside the character usage, Chaucer creates a stirring plot where the knight is nearly brought down until he is finally saved by a woman late in the game. The atmosphere surrounding this story is somewhat dark and mysterious, especially when Chaucer includes magic as a part of the eq...

... middle of paper ...

...he work of Geoffrey Chaucer is often lauded for its use of language, literary strength, and its understanding of social change. This work is no different, and it should be praised for that. The author does much with the language and has a plan with the work. Through a creative use of certain literary items, he gets across strong and central points about the role of women in his society.

Works Cited
Chaucer, Geoffrey (1987). “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue.” The Riverside Chaucer, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 105-116.
Hammond, Eleanor Prescott (1908). Chaucer: A Bibliographic Manual. New York: Macmillan.
Kittredge, George Lyman. "Chaucer's Discussion of Marriage." Modern Philology 9 (1912), 435-67.
Carter, Susan. "Coupling the Beastly Bride and the Hunter Hunted: What Lies Behind The Wife of Bath's Tale." Chaucer Review, Vol. 37 No. 4 (2003), 329-345.

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Essay about The Wife of Bath’s Tale - “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....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Geoffrey Chaucer] 2912 words
(8.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Representation of Female Gender Roles in the Wife of Bath’s Tale Essay - In Chaucer’s work, The Canterbury Tales (one of the greatest epic works of world literature) the gender questions are also moral questions. There is a theory created by Frederick Tupper in 1914 which means that the Canterbury Tales were designed as exemplification of sins and virtues, each tale drawing on one of the ’strict categories’ of traditional moral analysis. (Blamires) This is very interesting because we are in the Middle Ages where the religion was very important. I argue that this is a kind of ethical teaching and Christian morality at the same time....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]
:: 7 Works Cited
1638 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Gender Oriented Analysis in Wife of Bath by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay - ... While the fourth husband seems to have been quite a lively character—she describes him as a “revelour,” quite aware of his lover on the side—it is the Wife’s fifth and final husband, Janekin, who has left the most lasting impact (459). She claims to have truly loved him—he is the only husband whom she marries for love rather than money—although his treatment of her leaves something to be desired. His prowess in the bedroom always overcomes any ill treatment, and indeed his primary appeal is that he is “of his love daungerous”; essentially, he is hard to get, and the Wife relishes the challenge....   [tags: sexes, male, female characters] 1428 words
(4.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
An Analysis of The Wife of Bath Prologue Essay examples - The Wife of Bath is a wealthy and elegant woman with extravagant, brand new clothing. She is from Bath, a key English cloth-making town in the Middle Ages, making her a talented seam stress. Before the wife begins her tale, she informs the audience about her life and personal experience on marriage, in a lengthy prologue. The Wife of Bath initiates her prologue by declaring that she has had five husbands, giving her enough experience to make her an expert on marriage. Numerous people have criticized her for having had many husbands, but she does not see anything immoral about it....   [tags: The Wife of Bath Prologue Essays] 1242 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Wife of Bath Essay - The Wife of Bath One of the most interesting and widely interpreted characters in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is the Wife of Bath. She has had five different husbands and openly admits to marrying the majority of them for their money. The wife appears to be more outspoken and independent than most women of medieval times, and has therefore been thought to symbolize the cause of feminism; some even refer to her as the first actual feminist character in literature. Readers and scholars probably argue in favor of this idea because in The Canterbury Tales, she uniquely gives her own insight and opinions on how relations between men and women should be carried out....   [tags: The Wife of Bath Essays] 956 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay - Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales is Geoffrey Chaucer's greatest and most memorable work. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses "a fictitious pilgrimage [to Canterbury] as a framing device for a number of stories" (Norton 79). In "The General Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes in detail the pilgrims he meets in the inn on their way to Canterbury. Chaucer is the author, but also a character and the narrator, and acts like a reporter to provide a detailed description of the pilgrims....   [tags: Chaucer The Wife of Bath]
:: 5 Works Cited
1636 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay Summary and Analysis of The Wife of Bath's Tale - Summary and Analysis of The Wife of Bath's Tale Prologue to the Wife of Bath's Tale: The Wife of Bath begins the prologue to her tale by boasting of her experience in marriage. She has married five men already, and ignores the idea that this is a reproach to Christian principles. She is merely adhering to the Christian principle of "be fruitful and multiply." She cites the case of King Solomon, who had multiple wives, and tells the group that she welcomes the opportunity for her sixth husband....   [tags: Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Tale Essays] 1854 words
(5.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay - Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chaucer opens with a description of twenty-nine people who are going on a pilgrimage. Each person has a distinct personality that we can recognize from the way people behave today. He purposely makes The Wife of Bath stand out more compared to the other characters. In Chaucer’s “General Prologue,” the Wife of Bath is intentionally described in an explicit way to provoke a shocking response....   [tags: Chaucer The Wife of Bath] 1369 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Chaucer's Wife of Bath Essay - Chaucer's Wife of Bath Before beginning any discussion on Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, one must first recognize that, as critic Elaine Treharne writes, “Critical response to the Wife of Bath has been as diverse as it has been emotive” (2). Some critics love the Wife of Bath and her controversial prologue, proclaiming that she is a woman of strength and powerful words; others hate her and cover the eyes of younger girls, determined that Wife of Bath is instead a role model of what women should not be; and the rest remain a bit confused, simply excusing themselves and the Wife herself....   [tags: Chaucer Wife Bath Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
2469 words
(7.1 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
The Wife of Bath Essay - The institution of marriage has always been viewed as a lifetime bond which should never be broken. In addition, there are certain general vows that each party usually takes- to be faithful, obedient, and loving. For years, this verbal agreement was enough to keep even the toughest of marriages together for a long time. Enter the Wife of Bath, the polar opposite of the medieval woman. She was loud, brash, and deceitful- making her seem like the least likely person to get married. However, she ends up marrying five men....   [tags: The Wife of Bath Essays] 1309 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]