The Answer All Men Have Been Waiting For
Women are perhaps the most complex gender in comparison to men. Men for centuries have pondered on what women hunger for most. According to "The Wife of Baths Tale", what women most desire, is mastery over their men. This answer makes sense. Foremost, womens rights were, unjustly, unheard of during the time when the Canterbury Tales were written. The idea of women having power over men was a prize of infinite proportions. Also women wanted this because then decisions which affected them were decided according to the males will and needs. Finally, women were forced to play the role of caretaker. The husbands needs were to be met and satisfied by the women. However, if women had mastery over their men, their wants would be fulfilled.
The man was "in charge" of the house and its inhabitants. Although a marriage should consist of a team effort, during the time of the Wife of Bath, women were treated as another servant in the house. A wife was supposed to know her role and adhere to the husbands commands. This unfair treatment of women vexed many of the female gender. They had no voice in the decisions of the house and were forced act like servants. This meant making meals, tending house and fulfilling the desires of the flesh. This travesty, would make any women want to have the tables turned and be the "boss". An opportunity to have a voice and have power would have been a welcome change for any women. The Wife of Bath seemed to think so and tried her best to be the master of her many men.
Another reason women wanted to have mastery over their men was to make decisions. Especailly decisions that their input should be allowed. Men of the household decided on choices which affected the wife primarily, such as going to war, having more children or even letting his mother move in! The decisions would change the wifes life, but usually the men never took their ideas or situation into any thought. For example, having more children may seem easy for a man, but the wife will be the one who is forced to take of the growing child and rear it into a capable adult. The wife may not want a child, especially if they have children already. Having mastery over their men, would give women the power to make their life better as they see fit.
Lastly, women were given the role of cleaner, cook, mother, wife, etc. All these roles were done to please the husband. The husband came home and expected the wife to please him by doing anything he said to make him feel comfortable. The women was forced to gratify the mans needs and take care of him solely, putting their needs aside. They had to sacrifice how they felt and follow his directions. However, if the women had mastery over their men, the roles would be reversed. Women would have the ability to finally have their needs met and have their will achieved. They could have others think of their needs and have someone fulfill them.
The idea of what women want is elusive to men, but in the "Wife of Baths Tale" it is quite clear. It is mastery over men. This mastery over men would give women the power they desire over men and the rights they deserved. Mastery over their men would give women the authority to make decisions that affected them and make choices according to what they wanted. And this role-reversal would allow women to have their needs met and cared for instead of always obeying the whims of their husbands. This answer proved to make the wife of the knight happy, perhaps men will read this story and follow suit.
EXIT TO CHAUCER'S HALL