The Wife of Bath Speaks
Links to Other Chaucer Sites
Womens role and identity in society during the medieval period were different from their role and identity in society now. Women are still living in a double-standard society, trying to overcome many barriers. In the Middle Ages, women were primarily their husbands possessions. Obviously, formal education was not necessary for a woman, since her fate had already been decided, which was to be a housewife pleasing her husband all her life, among many other tasks.Women did have education, but not any formal education, for they were denied the privilegeof college.
I chose Alison from the Canterbury Tales as my character.From the start of the "General Prologue," Chaucer is imposing a sexist view on Alison. He describes the other pilgrims normally, but while describing her, he talks about how many men she has been with. It is highly unfair for any person to be referred to by his or her sexual life. Alison is the rebel of all women, for she does not abide by the rules of Christianity and preserve her virginity. Her character portrays a strong bold woman as compared to other women of the Middle Ages. Her flashy clothes show her bold image; theher decorative and heavy hats that she wears to church show her attention-craving personality. However, the reader must not directly mistake her for a feminist because she is not fighting to liberate women; she is fighting for control and power over men.
It is odd to see that in the fourteenth century, there were few women authors. Women were not involved in any part of society whether it be the work force or whether it be politically. It is quite ironic to see that even though women have "come a long way", they still are not involved in government, however, they are now much more involved in the work force. Though times have not changed much, but a woman of today has the right to choose how she wants to live her life without being subordinate to the male figure. Even though there are still many double standards, things are much better than in the Middle Ages. Alison indirectly without meaning to sets an example, allowing women to take stand to fight the injustices that go on even today.