The Wife of Bath is an interesting character. She isn't anything like she presents herself to be. She comes off as a bit of a feminist, defending the rights and power of women. She also describes how she is higher than her husband, based on a fear that was common to most men. From a point of view of men during that time period, she illustrated all of the wrongs things that men found in women. The Wife of Bath constantly highlights the negative of women throughout the ages. She characterizes women as greedy, controlling, and dishonest.
Many critics have written that they agree that The Wife of Bath resembles the characteristics of a feminist. She is strong-willed and dominant to be a woman. She uses those characteristics to get what she wants when she wants it, from whoever she wants it from, by manipulating her husbands into feeling bad for things that they didn't do, or by saying things that put them to shame. She seems to want everyone else to see her as the kind of women that will not let the standards of society get in the way of getting what she wants from an opposite sex.
The Wife of Bath's fifth husband abused her. Abuse is something that is not be tolerated by most "good" feminist. Every time he beats her, she comes right back to him without shame of any sort. Why? Sex was evidently the answer to that. She came up with the interesting logic that this was a good enough reason to be beaten. She even feels like everyone feels that way. Wife of Bath knows how bad her husband is, but because of her very obvious insecurities, she feels like she has to have him in her life. She is the type of woman who believes that she can't live a proper life without someone there to wine and dine her every need. No one aiming to have any kind of healthy relationship should not have these kinds of unnecessary traits.
In the 14th century time period, women were seen as second-class citizens they were rarely educated and had little status in society. The Wife of Bath emphasizes many of the negative things about women, like, greed, controlling, and sometimes even being dishonest with the goal to show how they rank next to men. She approaches her husbands without having reasonable suspicions about women, and not trusting them, thinking women are always unfaithful. Keep in mind, women of this time period were not educated enough to understand the true meaning of actually being a feminist. The Wife of Bath had some kind of advantage over the common women because of her business and how much money she had. She also had her marriage experiences to lean back on. She could be seen as hypocritical for having the audacity to say that other women were greedy and controlling as if she did not very obviously have the same traits.
In conclusion, the Wife of Bath wasn't really a real feminist in many cases because she takes the definition of a feminist and shows the traits of being a sexist. The Wife of Bath attempts throughout her prologue and tale to play the role of a true feminist, but in reality, at the end she actually triumphs the opposite of her opening goal. She has shown the men of the story that women are faithfully what they believed they were from the start, in the entire worst ways.
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