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The Wife of Bath - Literary Essay

            Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales' purpose is to present the entire spectrum of human personality by showing their qualities, flaws, oddities & hypocrisies. Through the Wife of Bath, in both her prologue & her tale, Chaucer introduces the modern-day notion that women are entitled to remarry & fulfill their intimate desires & to demand that their wants & unique wisdom be respected by men.
             Chaucer introduces the concept that women are entitled to marry again & fulfill their personal requests. The Wife claims that women "should not be married more than once" (Prologue ln 13). Widows, during that time, should not remarry but instead become a nun or spend the rest of her life in celibacy. She has had five husbands, & since Jesus only visited one wedding, people criticized her & said that she should have only married once. Instead of feeling shameful about her intense sex drive, the Wife simply argued that God told them "to increase and multiply" (Prologue ln. 28). She sees sex as a fun & healthy activity to participate in. She does not feel shamed by her actions but sees herself as simply upholding God's orders. The Wife claims that God endorses her sexual appetite. "He says it's no sin to be married; it is better to marry than to burn" (Prologue 1n. 52-53). She feels no remorse because she is not lusting towards a man that is not her husband. Because she is married, she can pursue her desires to the fullest with her husband. The Wife argues that God never commanded women to stay virgins or ban marriage by saying, "did God on high expressly prohibit marriage? I pray you, tell me; or where did he command virginity?" (Prologue ln. 60-62). God never gave the people a commandment regarding virginity. Women have a choice on whether to indulge themselves in celibacy or promiscuity. The Wife also claims that your genitals are made "for necessary business and for pleasure" (Prologue ln.

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