Men who lived in the Middle Ages completely dominated their female counterparts in their families due to the instilled mindset male were superior beings in society. In those times, women had no choice but to obey their blood brothers, their fathers, and any other male relative in their family trees. Council of elders severely punished any female who defied those rules and regulations since they viewed disobedience, unfaithfulness, and lack of respect as ungodly. Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘the wife of Bath’s Tale’ gives an impression into the role of the middle-aged women and that was probably good attention to Chaucer himself.
The wife’s bath tale has drawn different views from various critics across the world for a long time. The wife of bath prologue catches the reader’s attention immediately as she explains her thoughts on affection and general life. She possessed blunt integrity at the start of her preface and the reader clearly understands that the wife felt no humiliation and she did not regret about her multiple marriages. She makes it clear when she declares,” Of whiche I have piked out the beste” (Shaw, 2009 Para.1).
In her first uncouth feeling, the wife reflects on her life and says “But Lord Crist, whan that it remembreth me / upon my youthe and on my jolitee, / It tikleth me aboute myn herte roote – / unto this day it dooth myn herte boote”. The wife displays fully happiness over her past life and looks to be truly contempt with all things that took place during that period. She had a very great sexual desire which showed her flamboyant life and she shared her secret about her sexual drive with her associate pilgrims. Although her husbands usually expressed their grievances because she acted as if she was the head of the family, the wife did not bother much about her marriages. The husbands claimed that she had way a lot of demands, was very dominant sexually and she cared less about that (Harold, 2009 p.67).
She actually enjoyed so much due to the fact that she had gained ultimate control of four of her five marriages. This was because she was able to satisfy her immoral sexual desires; instead, she should be feeling embarrassed due to the fact that that act is irreligious and it was a taboo in ancient societies. She affirms her joy and states that “God bade us for to wexe and multiply.”It shows that she does not regret her shameless actions and she actually believes that by doing so she is following God’s commands (Shaw, 2009 Para.2). Moreover, she felt that her sexual feelings came from God because she was married to many husbands and was allowed to fulfill her desire to the fullest.
The other character expressed is that ford of gossiping so much about herself, and her experiences in life. She loved telling that weird tale of her engagement with many husbands, her everlasting sexual feeling and her ultimate power in her marriage. Her heinous act made other pilgrims feel offended and blame themselves since they thought that the wife did not have the required security. In her elderly age, she was just satisfied with everything, she enjoyed everything she liked and she had nothing to lament. She stated that “But age, allas, that al wol envenime, / Lat go, farewell, the devel go therewith! / the bren as I best can now moste I selle; / But yit to be right merye wol I fonde.”It implied that although she had lost her youth, the wife lived her old age with happen as a beautiful maiden (Harold, 2008 p.13).
In conclusion, the role of all women in any established society is similar anywhere in the whole universe irrespective of race or ethnicity. According to the religions and the traditional cultures of most societies, women were supposed to honor and respect all their male members in their families and this was the same even during the middle ages. When a woman turned to be disrespectful she created a very negative impression in the society and at some instance, she could be punished for her sinful characters. In his tale of a woman of Bath, Geoffrey has cited an example of a woman who lived in the middle ages with such unacceptable characters in society. In the tale, the woman was believed to be very immoral, unfaithful disrespectful to her husbands and she could not keep any secrets.
Harold, B.(2009).Geoffry Chaucer.BMP series.Bloom’s classic critical views.New
york Infobase Publishers.
Harold, B. (2008). The Canterbury Tales. Bloom’s guides.New York: infobase publishing.
Shaw, M. (2009).A Lust for Life. Retrieved from