Geoffrey Chaucer's character : The Wife of Bath
The Medieval Period was a strange period to live in, especially with the role of women and marriage in the society. The society, since it was based off of the Christian-Catholic church, had a highly patriarchal culture, leaving women powerless and helpless. Most of women’s actions were dictated by male superiors, especially religious ministers and leaders.
In regards with marriage during the medieval period, one of the major practices was to understand the feelings of each other and then couples can get married already. Most marriages back in the days were not administered by any minister or a representative, and it was just a mere agreement of two or four minds. Also according to an article from the The Medieval Times, the typical age for marriages back in the medieval era was 12 years old for girls, and 14 years old for boys. Marriages were fixed by parents of both sides and it was mostly based off of a monetary value.
Since these actions bothered the clergy, theologians made marriage a holy sacrament for couple’s union with each other, Christ, and the church. Chaucer wanted to represent women during the Medieval period while portraying the role of the church in controlling the society affecting women. Geoffrey Chaucer’s character : The Wife of Bath, suggests that women back in the medieval period craved for power over men and control over the society. The Wife of Bath was used as a representation on how women back in the medieval era needed power through marriage with men. Marriage became the way on how women could get power, because marriage was a symbol of authority over one another. The Wife really wanted power so she became against the authorities of the church and forms her arguments through her experience with 5 husbands. With the tale, the woman asked: what do women most desire? Men had a hard time answering the question since they don’t really study women’s behavior that time. The Wife of Bath was ahead of time for with her intellectual abilities of not using biblical scriptures to form good arguments about women’s role in the society, became an empowering movement for women. For example :You spoke of gentle birth, such as descends from ancient wealth and worth. If that’s the claim you make for gentlemen. Such arrogance is hardly worth a hen. shows the idea of how women wanted to free their speech in the society.
Now, the answer to the question: What do women most desire? is, according to a woman: A woman wants the self-same sovereignty over her husband as over her lover, and master him; he must not be above her. In a deeper context, women, in general and not just in marriage, wanted power over the patriarchal society. The wife was actually more than a feminist. Feminism is defined as the equality of all sexes. However, with the text, women wanted more power than men, resulting to reversed inequality. It shows that the text at the end of the tale when the wife tells her fifth husband: kiss me…and you shall find me both…Fair and faithful as a wife shows that she has now control over her husband, and may result to women having more power than men in the society. The Wife embodies the idea of feminism in a way where women have more opportunities and power compared to before. However, the tale suggests that too much power for women will result to a reversed inequality, that may result into a women-controlled society. Today, feminism is about equality of opportunities, happiness, and roles of everybody regardless of gender.
The cravings of women for power is slowly getting satisfied by society through equality, and it is continuously changing women’s ability to do things. According to Uzor Darlington Ike’s The Importance of Feminism for men and Women: the importance of feminism for men relies on a simple fact and that is that the concept of inequality is not endangering, and never has been. The Christian Church played a big role on how gender divided society, and it became a concept stuck in the society. However, society have come a long way in changing the world’s perspective about gender, which is a good stuff. Good in a way that people can see everybody now and not consider gender as a basis for a human’s role. It is also good that people see gender as a way to express themselves and their role in the society. However, society should always remember that too much good stuff is bad stuff.
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