Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer can be called a real encyclopedia of life contemporary for the author. This collection of stories depicts author’s points of view on such topics as religion, education, politics, family life and many others. Among these topics the problem of sexuality is one of the most interesting ones.
This problem is disclosed through the story of the Wife of Bath who is definitely one the most outstanding characters created by Chaucer. Chaucer gives his character an interesting name because it discloses both her occupation and her vocation. A real vocation of this woman is to become an expert in the problems of marriage and sexuality. She was married five times and had a big number of love affairs. She seems to know all about the art of love and she is not ashamed to speak about it frankly.
Her passion for debauchery the Wife of Bath explains by the Biblical commandment given by Apostle Paul according to which every person should fulfill his or her mission and should not be ashamed of it. So, the Bible gives her freedom and redemption because she tries hard to fulfill her mission. At the same time the Wife of Bath is a very practical woman who knows how to gain control over men even in the society where women are deprived of power. Her weapon is her body.
In the prologue to her tale she confesses that she used sexual pleasures as a method of getting wealth and power. She married three of her husbands in order to become rich. Besides, they were old and it was easy for her to control them. Still, despite all her practical sense, the tale told by this woman makes her one of the earliest feminist characters who claims that the greatest desire of all women is sovereignty with their husbands.
According to this tale a man becomes happy only after giving governance to his wife and in case he does not do it, the God shortens his life. So, the Wife of Bath’s tale is a feminine fantasy which investigates the problem of dominance in marital relations.
According to this tale, sexuality is the main weapon that can give power to women and can ensure their well-being.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. The Norton Anthology: English Literature. Ninth Edition, vol. 1. Ed. Abrams, M.H. Norton & Company: New York, …