The Canterbury Tales Essay, Research Paper
One of import facet of society that Geoffrey Chaucer includes in a series of his short narratives, The Canterbury Tales, is the function of adult females in the fourteenth century. Two of the narratives, which include this facet, are The Knight s Tale and The Wife of Bath s Tale. Chaucer shows two positions of adult females that existed at that clip period in England. One position is portrayed through Emily and the other position is portrayed through the Wife of Bath s Tale and the old adult female in her narrative.
The position portrayed by Emily shows her as a pretty maiden who minds her ain concern while two cousin s fight over their love for her. Although the narrative is based on her in a manner of speech production, she is non the chief heroine in the narrative. On the other manus, the Wife of Bath shows a position of adult females who are women’s rightists and believe in male entry.
She manipulates the narrative and her characters as she pleases. Both narratives are premier illustrations of the ruin of work forces due to the influences of adult females. In The Knight s Tale, the ruin is decease and sorrow. In The Wife Of Bath s Tale, the ruin is entry and the loss of male sovereignty.
Palamon and Arcite are two cousins who are both knights and are both captured by King Theseus. They were both put to prison in a tower in Athens for a period of over a decennary. These two household members have been locked up in a dark room at the top of a tower with no 1 to see or speak to and more significantly they have had no contact with the opposite sex since their gaining control. As Emily walks through the garden which the prison cell overlooks, Palamon sees her for the first clip and falls frantically in love with her.
I was hurt merely now through my eyes
and to my bosom
My conjecture is that she is in truth Venus ( Page 53 )
Arcite so gets in on the dainty and he, as is cousin did, fell in love with her besides.
The lively beauty of her who wanders in that topographic point
yonder works sudden death..
I am but dead, there is no more to state. ( Page 55 )
These two work forces have ne’er met Emily nor have they any information about her. One expression and that is what it took to destroy a household bond between two covetous relations. The knights’emotions for a adult female of whom they know perfectly nil of, other than the fact that she is beautiful, reduces her to an object to be won and an juncture for escapade and wooing. What these two work forces do non recognize is that neither of them will of all time hold this adult female, yet they decide to contend over her and sacrifice each other s lives for a maiden that has non even seen them.
Arcite is set free but is doomed to ne’er once more see Emily; his broken bosom causes him sickness as he s weakened by love. The root of immorality that Chaucer uses to portray the function of Emily in this narrative, is that he makes her out to be an guiltless maiden who is minding her ain concern. At the same clip she is destroying a relationship that should be stronger than any lust or love no affair what the fortunes are.
The triumph is yours in this escapade ;
Most merrily you may remain in prison
I ought so to die in hopelessness and hurt. ( Page 59 )
On the one manus Emily s amble in the garden has caused Arcite to experience ill and his physical position proves it. On the other manus, Palamon is stuck in a cell shouting all the clip and contemplating killing himself so he will non hold to travel through these feelings of hurting everyday that appears to hold no terminal.
Alas, I see a snake or a stealer,
who has done mischievousness to many a true adult male
I must remain in prison by the will of Saturn ( Page 63 )
All these crisises because of one adult female, and an accrued feeling of lecherousness and hurt. The king gives no idea as to whether Emily wants to get married either of the two work forces, and makes the determination for her. He is the individual who controls her destiny. This is an illustration of how adult females were treated during Chaucer’s clip. They were given small or no regard at all and were treated as objects. Arcite ends up losing his life over an unimportant issue and Palamon succeeds in get marrieding the adult female of his dreams.
The Wife of Bath is likely the lone adult female who defies the regulation of holding a adult male regulation over her life and makes her picks for her. She is in entire control of everything she does. The Wife of Bath seems to hold a head of her ain and sentiments that are non supported by some people at the clip. The most elaborate and most criticized position of adult females s functions in this book is The Wife of Bath s prologue and narrative. She is the lone female of
the three of the narratives that were read that was given a free function and a personality to show feelings, beliefs and several other factors that have a connexion with adult females at that clip.
Even though she was the lone female with precedence in the narratives, most of her beliefs were based on and defined by the males she has been with. Chaucer did non give her character complete freedom though he gave her the will to expose a point that was non something familiar at the clip. She is portrayed as a lustful female who tempts work forces and takes their money, land and whatever else they could offer her. She likes demoing off and intimidates people as 2nd nature.
I would impeach them about dames when they were so ill they
could barely stand, yet it tickled a hubby s bosom, since he
idea I showed such a great fancy of him. ( Page 201 )
This is shown by her non being able to defy stating her comrades about sexual brushs that she has experienced. She likes the thought of holding power and to her, the sky is the bound. She would travel to any extent to derive power; even losing her hearing in one ear did non look like such a large loss to her when she looks at what she has gained in return. She even ended up deriving power over her last two hubbies which, as she claims, were the hardest two to command.
She is manipulative in her ways and is a pagan. She has had five hubbies, three of which she used for their money and land, and the other two were used for sexual pleasance and an effort at holding a relationship based on love.
The married woman is shown as a women’s rightist. She believes in adult females being leaders in assorted things. She does non hold with the traditional thought of holding work forces choose and decide. She wants to be her ain foreman and she will reason anything she believes in. As the old adult female wanted in the narrative, the Wife besides wants what most adult females desire, power and sovereignty over work forces.
… a adult female wants the self-same sovereignty over her hubby and her lover.And maestro him: he
must non be above her. This is your greatest wish … ( Page 213 )
She contradicts herself a few times in the prologue when she says that lies, cryings, and whirling are the chief assets to adult females. This is evidently a prevarication in itself because what she is making is utilizing her organic structure parts as her assets to derive land and money as two other assets of import to her. She emphasizes her points in her narrative as she shows the knight to be a gallant and powerful warrior who does as he pleases and one time he is in problem he turns to the queen and the old adult female. In existent life the Wife of Bath is seeking to state that work forces travel on about their lives cognizing they have power and wealths, one time a adult female tempts them, all is lost and they bow down to the female race and offer them whatever they own.
My lady, my love, my dearest married woman, I leave the affair to your wise determination. You make the
pick yourself, for the proviso. I don’t attention which; whatever pleases you suffices me. ( Page 239 )
She says in the prologue how adult females want power and that is what will maintain them happy. Subsequently in her narrative she shows that by doing the knight seem helpless in forepart of the old adult female and by inquiring her what she thinks the best pick is and what determination to do. Without a uncertainty the knight is non stupid either, he would non desire his married woman to rip off on him or be ugly, so he leaves the determination to his married woman. In the narrative the characters with power were the queen and the old adult female, the male monarch gave the queen the pick to either hold the knight put to decease or salvage him. Because of this desire for power the married woman becomes covetous of the old adult female when it comes to her last hubby. She identifies with the old adult female and wants that even though she is ugly, as the old adult female is, she could hold the power that the old adult female has. She wants the power to be given to her from her spouse so that she excessively can do the determinations and the picks and non hold those taken off from her.
In decision, through the narratives of the Wife of Bath and the Knight, Chaucer shows two points of position on adult females. The Wife of Bath represented the wicked radical women’s rightist who is after power and pleasance, while Emily represented the adult female as an inexperienced person, beautiful maiden who is clueless about issues refering work forces. These two characters invariably served as opposite descriptions in visual aspects, general manners, and manner of life and most significantly in their behavior towards work forces. The Knight s Tale revolved around the presence of Emily, while The Wife of Bath s Tale revolved around her past personal experience and her manner of life.
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