As a mild feminist, I enjoy both poems written by female poets and verses written in the perspective of women, for instance, the wife of Bath’s prologue and story from the Canterbury tales.
When we read the stories about the Canterbury pilgrimage, the wife of Bath is always seen as a symbol of pleasure in mortal life in renaissance time. Not only does her prologue before her story but also her story about Sir Gawain’s marriage supports feminism of our time.The first time I read about words like “organs of generation” and “enjoyment” I was quite embarrassed, since such words were quite vulgar for a masterpiece. However, it seems to me that in his words, Chaucer didn’t show any kind ofcontempt, thus I assume he is also a supporter of feminism in his time. His creation, the wife of Bath, is likely to be lustful and philistine for those preservative gentlemen. Maybe he did want to use this kind of philistinism to make them uncomfortable, in terms of modern feminism it is called defiant eroticism, provocatively write about women’s desire and pleasure to confirm female independence as well as their rebellion.
A great many of my peers heard of the story of Gawain’s adventure to what women most desire. During his journey, Gawain asked countless ladies and maidens, and the answers range from fame and riches to play, or clothes, or sexual pleasure, or flattery, or freedom. Finally, he found out the answer was that women most desire sovereignty over their husbands and he did let his wife win the power over him, thus he had a happy life ever after.
In perfect joy. And may Christ Jesussend
Us husbands meek and young and fresh abed,
And then the grace to outlive those we wed; 1260
I also pray that Jesus shorten lives
Of those who won't be governed by their wives;
As for old niggards angered by expense,
God send them soon a mighty pestilence!
The oath must be Chaucer’s reflection of his married life. This might also present as the ideal state in the mind of the wife...