Essay by bjordanCollege, Undergraduate November 2014

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The Miller's Tale and The Wife of Bath

In my opinion Chaucer was writing these tales in a sense that marriage is not always traditional. He goes above and beyond by switching the traditional roles of a marriage so the women are more say in charge. I first start off explaining the views on marriage that I saw were useful and not useful commentaries in marriage. First I will begin with The Wife of Bath.

The Wife of Bath has her own perception of marriage, which Chaucer shows in both the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale. Marry or married is said to be joined as husband and wife according to law or custom, or to take as husband or wife, says Webster's Dictionary. In both the Prologue and Tale of the Wife of Bath we see the institution of marriage used as control over money and sexual powers.

Chaucer's Wife of Bath displays a complete sense of mockery toward marriage as a holy institution. The Prologue and Tale of the Wife of Bath clearly show that the Wife of Bath sees marriage as a woman's dominance over a man. In the Prologue, the Wife of Bath starts to defend her actions of marrying five men. She uses her marriages as a sort of fulfillment of God's word. Using two specific examples from scripture she explains why her marriages are justifiable by God:

For then, says the Apostle Paul, I'm free to wed, in God's name, where it pleases me. He says to be married is no sin, better it is to marry than to burn. I know that Abraham was a holy man, and Jacob too, so far as I can tell; and they had more than two wives, both of them, and many another holy men as...