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: 3/13/2008 11:46:00 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1054
Pages: 4

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