Wife of Bath
This research paper will explore one particularly overt intersection of the questions of feminism, maltreatment of women, and female sexuality in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue in The Canterbury Tales, with a particular emphasis on the lines 503-14. First, the analysis in this Wife of Bath research paper will be examined in relationship to the themes of feminism, abuse, and female sexuality.
The research paper begins the critique of the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale by discussing their seminal place within the canon of “feminist” literature. Although Chaucer was not female, and the concept of feminism as a formalized movement would not emerge for hundreds of years, Chaucer’s Wife of Bath represents a landmark in literature, insofar as she is a fully realized female character who unapologetically asserts her sexual and social rights.
The research paper on Wife of Bath also points out that the emergence of feminist literary theory over the last several decades has presented an alternative to the exceedingly narrow interpretations of the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale that persisted for hundreds of years when the scholarly readership was largely comprised of men. During this era, most readings regarded the Wife of Bath as either a “monster or a joke,” with no room for more in-depth examination of her character