The Picture Of The Medieval Society In The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer

1159 words - 5 pages

Medieval society was different, but not so different from what we experience today. In the fourteenth century people lived their life, almost the same life that we live. They were born, grew up, fell in love, married, had children and died. They ate, got drunk, went to work with hangovers, beat their spouses, grieved for their dead...There was alot about fourteenth century that we would find familiar.Women had a great role in medieval times. You can find women in different roles. Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales tells of several women. Two are among the travelers on the pilgrimage to Canterbury and the others are characters in numerous tales during the journey. The wife of Bath, the old women in the Wife of Bath's Tale, and Griselda, a character in the Clerk's Tale, each exemplify the divergent role of women in fourteenth century. These women are true examples of women of the past, and on the contrast can also be examples of women of nowdays because although lifestyles may change, however general behaviors remain the same.Forceful and vivacious, The Wife of Bath is an ideal illustration of an unrestrained and lewd woman of the fourteenth century. She has been widowed five times and she is going on the pilgrimage to Canterbury to possibly find her next husband. The Wife is opposed to the concept of chastity and plainly states her personal ideas concerning that subject within the prologue of her tale...Tell me to what conclusion or in aid of what were generative organs made? And for what profit were those creatures wrought? Trust me, they cannot have been made for naught.Her attire is pretentious; she wears vivid garments and ornate headdresses. As a result of her flamboyant vanity, The Wife would have been censured by priests and parsons. The Wife of Bath can practically be considered a sex symbol of her generation.The Wife of Bath has even been compared to Madonna by Susan K. Hagan. Hagan writes, "What I find so amazing in these two self styled performances of confession and romance, separated as they are by 600 years and phenomenological existence is that both express their individuality in terms of sexual autonomy and control. Both The Wife of Bath and Madonna know how to "play the game." The Wife of Bath wants the free dinner as much as anyone else. She postures, she pronounces, she plays out the challenge of Host, Pardoner, Friar, and Clerk alike." Hagan adds to the comparison by stating, "Her [The Wife of Bath] opening number might be "Express Yourself," but her method is to vogue, to strike a pose, whether it be the reprobate feminine exegete, the insatiable Venusian, the shrewish wife, the jealous wife, or the loving wife". The Wife of Bath also tells a tale of a knight and an old woman with the moral that man and wife will be happiest if the woman is given the power in the relationship. These power struggles occurred in past eras and continue even now. What woman today with a controlling husband would prefer to be in charge, and vice...

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