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Wife of bath

            Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue.
             The Wife of Bath's Prologue can be read in two ways. Many critics view her character as one of the first feminist figures of Medieval Literature. She is a strong-willed and dominant woman. She speaks freely of her sexuality and of her dysfunctional marriages. The wife of Bath escapes the typical thinking of woman in Chaucer's day. Woman were viewed as property and many sources of authority saw sexual pleasure as a lustful sin. The Wife of Bath clearly disagrees with this ideology. She views marriage as a way of getting revenge on men, who place woman on an inferior level. She uses tools of deceit to gain control over her husbands. This seems to be her long term goal instead of the pursuit of happiness. Although viewed as a feminist by some, others define a feminist as someone who believes that men and woman are equal, while also recognizing the unique characteristics of both genders. It was not Chaucer's intent to display the Wife of Bath in this way.
             She is a nag. Chaucer portrays her this way throughout the entire prologue. She uses this technique to get what she wants when she wants it. She also uses her beauty and sexuality as a tool to get her husbands to obey her. Her first three husbands yielded to her for their own peace of mind. "They were ful glad whan I spak to hem faire For, God it woot, I chidde hem spitously". If her husbands refused her commands then she would deny any sexual favors to them. Her outlook on marriage is cold and unemotional. It can be closely related to a business arrangement instead of a loving relationship. The fact that the Wife clearly comments that woman are born with the weapon of deceit destroys any possibility of her being a feminist. "Swere and lyen as a womman kan". Her beliefs can be more closely related to that of a sexist person. She emphasizes the negative stereotypes associated with woman but hypocritically argues with her 5th husband when he reads tales of wicked wives.

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