Historical Background

Woman's place in the fourteenth century is very different from that of women in the twentieth century. Primarily, women in the fourteenth century could not have been free at all. They were not allowed to attend the University, and as a result make, less educated than some men. Women had to take care of the children. Other responsibilities included taking care of the house, working on the farms, helping with the husband's business. There was no source of happiness or pleasure for women since they had to concentrate on completing their everyday tasks. According to "The Wife of Bath's Tale," what women most desire is "to have sovereinetee as wel over hir housbonde as hir love, and for to been in maistrye him above"[Norton, 139]. In other words, women desire to have sovereignty as well perceiving their husband as their love.

After reviewing several circumstances in which women's roles in the Middle Ages have been compared, I concur to the quote mentioned; pertaining towards women's desire to have authority over men. The women of the Middle Ages were either Virgin Marys or shrews housewives. The women did not possess a natural mix of human traits. This is probably because women were not viewed as human typically in this time period. It obviously can be said so since Chaucer didn't even give her a first name. Wife of Bath was displayed strong and powerful as a "wife" but not as an "woman."

In contrast, today's women are more liberaly. Today's women are leading figures in business world who have nannies to take care of the children and the house. They are more educated than the women of the fourteenth century. Today's women are allowed to go to school to get higher education. Today's women have power to state their opinions to their husbands; therefore, husbands and wives are more equal. Both husbands and wives show their respect to each other and support each other in today's society.

As we can see, the society became better as times have changed. There are some points needed for improvement; however, I definitely can say the number of women who are satisfied with their marriages has increased in the twentieth century.