The wife (canterbury tales)

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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The clerk tells his tale as a rebuttal to the "Wife of Bath's" story, each tale has an opposing view about which sex is more dominant than another. The woman of Bath is a woman that speaks her mind without being afraid of her image, which was very uncommon during this time. She is very knowledgeable about history and real life experiences. She uses the tale of "Metellius, that filthy lout"(270), and religious aspects to support her views. Her belief about the fair treatment of women was a new perspective to most people. Her tale is more on the feminist side, whereas the clerk tells a story in response about dominance in relationships. This is taunting the woman of Bath and her beliefs by telling this story. She believes that marriage and sex aren't of great significance, she uses these as props to increase her money or power. From the beginning they are different; her prologue is very long and in depth, whereas the clerk delves right into his story.

In fact he is told by his colleagues to "put things plainly"(321) and not to "tell a tale to send us all asleep"(321). He withholds his true emotions about sexism and mastery until he has completed the tale. Whereas the woman first began by sharing her feelings, then told her story to back her thoughts.

One of the main characters from each tale is put to a test of their patience and subordination to the opposite sex. In the "Wife of Bath" the knight is allowed to choose the appearance of his wife; either she become beautiful and unfaithful or remain old, and noble. The knight has been taught that it is the women's decision to choose her appearance. He makes the right decision by letting her be in control,