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The Prologue and the Wife of Bath's Tale - Essay Example

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The Prologue and the Wife of Bath's Tale

More importantly, he creates a character that flies in the face of contemporary medieval theory and law, which was mainly biblical in origin: it was commonly held that woman is all passion, and it is up to man and his reason to keep her on the right path, through whatever means possible, and that marriage is primarily for the purpose of procreation.
According to her own words the Wife of Bath has systematically frustrated the two legitimate aims of Christian marriage as the fourteenth century understood them: she has failed to promote between herself and her husbands the inseparable union of minds that defines the form of Christian marriage; and she has withheld from them the free expression of physical love that might have produced children. As a result, her opening remarks, theorizing that marriage and sex are good because they lead to procreation, must now be replaced by the entirely contradictory description of her actual practice: marriage and especially sex are useful for gaining sovereignty. (Condren,1999)
The Wife of Bath, in stark cont ...Show more


The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories hung on the framework of a pilgrimage tale by the fourteenth century writer and courtier Geoffrey Chaucer, is widely considered to be one of the best known works of Middle English literature. Here, Chaucer often showers praise on the character only to raise doubt on the aptness of the statement by inviting the audience to see the discrepancy, an ambiguity between the moral language used and the action described…
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