27 April 2006
What Women Want?
Think you are independent? Feel you have absolute power over your choices, yourself, your life? Easy answered questions, right? Now, should it matter if you are a man or a woman? Well of course not, but, unfortunately it seems to. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue”, there is portrayal of what women want, what women have or do not have, and how they do or do not use their sexuality to achieve it. The Wife informs her listener’s of double standards, inequality, and that a woman should have supremacy over her husband. Is absolute power and control what women really want? Power is what we all want per se, along with the control to get what you want. Interesting enough, even though this particular work was written several hundred years ago, it easily applies today. Ironically, at the close of “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue”, it is a split as to whether it was the woman or the man who really possessed that ultimate power after all.
Women for many centuries now have had to earn respect, rights, and the acceptance to be independent thinkers. Some would say having these qualities are similar to the definition of a feminist, just as the Wife in this tale could be considered one as well (Sanders). Is she? Well, in the 14th century it was not well known of any movements or fights for equal rights for women, the Wife just felt as a woman, she should have certain opportunities and justifications. One being power over her husband. Feminist or not, being able to think for oneself, be not only a wife but an equal person to a husband, and not being held back just because of one’s genitals should not be a factor. She describes that a woman ultimately desires to have true power over her husband, “Wommen desire to have sovereinetee as wel over hir housbonde as hir love, and for to been in maistrye him above” (Chaucer 276). Considering her own life, one must question...