The Wife Of Bath as a Modern Woman
The Wife of Bath, a prominent character. Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales in 1392, a time when women’s role in society was limited and has become a subject of special discussion in the modern era. Middle age societies were patriarchal, were male, dominant in all respects, had the authority resided in their hands. Also, men were the protectors of women. Concepts like these prevailed in society and society believed that women were not capable of living an independent life. The church was a highly dominant and powerful aspect of the society, so anything that contradicted the religion, the Church would not accept.
Spiritual and social aspects were two very crucial factors limiting women to particular roles. Women could perform their roles as a wife, a mother, a peasant, an artisan, or a nun. While the maximum role women could perform was either of an abbess or a queen regnant.
Despite a few social roles, women were not allowed to vote, make state decisions, or get involved in any matters that required critical work or observation.
The Wife of Bath is a very prominent character in the poem. She has a great passion for clothes as her husband owns a cloth factory. She is wearing a ten-pound heavy dress with scarlet pants and soft and gentle shoes. She is a rich woman and has a boldface. She married 5 men but had no child, so she used to visit Jerusalem three times a year to pray for a child. Her husbands had died one by one, and she had nothing to do. So to kill her boredom, she used to travel. She has a gap in her teeth, wears a huge hat, and covers her nick with a cloth attached with a pin. She is a good chatterer and knows very well how to seduce men.
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It is to be noted that personality makes a person attractive, and the most important factor that builds a prominent personality is dressing. The second factor is confidence. The Wife of Bath has both these strong traits, which are highly contradictory to the middle age social norms. She is a prototype of modern women because she resembles modern women in several ways.
According to Roman Catholicism, a widowed woman was not allowed to be married again. The Wife of Bath, despite that, had married 5 men who died one by one. Such marital restrictions are not implemented today. The Wife of Bath had broken all social norms of the middle ages.
Secondly, during the middle ages, women were not supposed to live independent life. At the time, women were to remain under the orders of her husband, and they must not act contradictory to what their husbands wills. However, the Wife of Bath travels independently and does not act timidly by spending the rest of her life at home. She lives her life according to what pleases her. This resembles our modern women, who are free to live independently and are not bound by any means.
Thirdly, the middle era women, as mentioned above, were to play their roles in the society as nuns, peasants, artisan, a mother, or a wife only. The Wife of Bath deals in clothes as her husband owned a cloth factory. She loves to offer her services, making her a self-dependent woman who earns her own finances. Women in modern times are free to work wherever they desire.
Another fascinating fact is that in the Middle Ages, women being bound and not exposed to the world’s rough circumstances were unconfident and not very robust in social connections. Nevertheless, the Wife of Bath has boldface that speaks of itself and reflects the courage and confidence she has in her. This peculiarity of hers once again resembles that of modern women who, due to exposure to the world around them, are confident in their social dealings.
A significant fact about The Wife of Bath is her fashion sense. The way she dresses and the intensity of her fondness for dressing is very unusual for Middle Ages women. She wears a ten-pound heavy dress along, a scarf, scarlet stockings, and soft shoes.
The wife of a bath is a very modern character of her age. Her dress code, her attitude, and her self-confidence speak for the unique attributes of hers. Only when one draws a contrast between both the ages, only then would he realize that what the wife of bath possesses has a strong resemblance to the women of modern times. Therefore, it must not be wrong to say that the wife of bath is a prototype for modern women.