Similarities of the Wife of Bath to Modern Women

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Women have had an ongoing battle with the patriarchy when it comes to their lifestyle choices; specifically, relationships and having autonomy over their bodies. In today’s society most women seek equality and the ability to chose in a relationship compared to other eras like the 40’s- the 70’s when most women were considered to be very docile and obedient in their partnerships. This can be seen mirrored in the Wife of Bath’s tale. The Wife of Bath’s tale resembles one of the modern women as both of them want independence and liberation in their relationships. More specifically they seek to have control over their minds and bodies and wish to be able to do what they want for themselves.

The Wife of Bath embodies the entirety of the medieval man’s fears and dislikes. She is openly sexual, she’s rather risqué, and like the boss she is, she weaponizes her sexuality to assert her undeniable dominance over her handful of husbands. “An housbonde I wol have, I wol nat lette, Which shal be both my dettour and my thral, And have his tribulacioun withal Upon his flessh, wyl that I am his wif”. (160-163) In this quote she demonstrates how she changed sex from a recipricol duty with her husband(s) to a tool of power for herself. She details the ways in which she acquires, and enjoys, power. The other characters in the story are genuinely put off by this that the Pardoner interrupts her to let it be known that he is now actually afraid of getting married.

The modern woman and a woman in the medieval times are similar in more ways than one, some would disagree because of how much has changed in other aspects of life, but in reality doesn’t seem to be the case. Many people today believe that because of the time gap between The Wife of Bath and women now that there must be a elephantine generation hole between today’s modernized woman and the woman from the medieval times; But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality women have stuck around near to their level and standing with men.

The Wife of Bath woman is similar to modern day women mostly in terms of being self independent, She speaks against the tale that in order for women to live they must be dependent of someone. The Wife of Bath tale shows us a clear visual of what most women in our time period want. The comprehensive list of similarities between a woman now, and The Wife of Bath woman result in something that shows us that women no matter what time period they may be in have wanted to have their own freedom and power in one way or another.

In our world today with more and more women being liberated and the topic of sex being an open forum discussion, woman can find themselves learning to be okay using their bodies how they want to but also being shamed and disgraced by other members of society. If women are more open now they are attacked by anti-feminists and conservatives who believe that a woman should not be able to wield her body as a weapon; Similar to the Wife who believed in being able to use her body in order to give men what they want whilst gaining power and manipulating them. This can be seen in “With five churned husbands bringing joy and strife… The remedies of love she knew, perchance,for of that art she’s learned the old, old dance” These quotes translate to telling us that she has been with many men, not exactly for love but more for money and power and that she is very experienced when it comes to the area of handling men and she isn’t afraid to use her expertise.

Similar to her women use their determination, charisma, charm ,and wits to get their way. In both the modern woman and The Wife of Bath woman. Obviously manipulating someone is now frowned upon but the point of the comparison is to demonstrate that women have had an ongoing battle with society about their right to the ownership of their own bodies.

The perseverance that women of our generation and the ones before us have shown is unmatched. The Wife of Bath is honestly an icon, she is a huge symbolism of disresepect towards the patriarchy and societal standards that deem what a woman can and cannot do and how women should or should not feel. The Wife is a representation of the fact that no matter how high of a pedestal someone holds a women to, she will have no problem speaking her mind and showing that she is more than confident in following her own path. This holds true to both The Wife and the modern woman.

After analyzing The Wife I feel as if she simply desires to bring men and women to be equal. I feel this way because the Wife was only searching for power that she felt like she did not have. She was a woman who was trapped in glass watching all the men of her time having the freedom to go out and achieve what their hearts desired and that’s when she finally decided that it was enough. She used what she was born with in order to try to close the enormous gap between the males and females of her time period.

No matter the time differennces between the woman we are comparing we know one thing for sure; Society was made to oppress women but thanks to stories like The Wife of Bath there are ways females in our generation can open up the discussion about their freedom and autonomy in their own relationships.

Cite this paper

Similarities of the Wife of Bath to Modern Women. (2021, Dec 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/similarities-of-the-wife-of-bath-to-modern-women/

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