An Analysis Of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales": The Wife Of Bath's Tale



In reading Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," I found that of the
Wife of Bath, including her prologue, to be the most thought-provoking. The
pilgrim who narrates this tale, Alison, is a gap-toothed, partially deaf
seamstress and widow who has been married five times. She claims to have great
experience in the ways of the heart, having a remedy for whatever might ail it.
Throughout her story, I was shocked, yet pleased to encounter details which were
rather uncharacteristic of the women of Chaucer's time. It is these
peculiarities of Alison's tale which I will examine, looking not only at the
chivalric and religious influences of this medieval period, but also at how she
would have ...

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rarely lived up to this
ideal(Patterson 170). In a work by Muriel Bowden, Associate Professor of
English at Hunter College, she explains that the knights of the Middle Ages were
"merely mounted soldiers, . . . notorious" for their utter cruelty(18). The
tale Bath's Wife weaves exposes that Chaucer was aware of both forms of the
medieval soldier. Where as his knowledge that knights were often far from
perfect is evidenced in the beginning of Alison's tale where the "lusty" soldier
rapes a young maiden; King Arthur, whom the ladies of the country beseech to
spare the life of the guilty horse soldier, offers us the typical conception of
knighthood.
In addition to acknowledging this dichotomy of ideas about chivalry,
Chaucer also brings into question the religious views of his time through this
tale. The loquacious Alison spends a good deal of the prologue espousing her
views regarding marriage and virginity, using her knowledge of the scriptures to
add strength to her arguments. ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 4/28/2005 02:13:31 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1054
Pages: 4

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