In the “Wife of Bath’s Prologue,” she begins her introduction by telling the other pilgrims that she has experience because she has been married five time. She believes more in experience rather than in written authority (that is , in texts written by men). The Wife of Bath argues with virginity: “Where can ye saye in any manere age that hye God defended mariage by expres word? I praye you, telleth me. Or Where comanded he virginitee?” [Norton,118] She asks where in the bible is virginity commanded? If God condemned virginity, there would be no children, and no population: “For hadde God comanded maidenhede, Thanne hadde he dampned wedding with the deede; And certes, if there were no seed ysowe, Virginitee, thanne wherof sholde it growe?” [Norton,118] She then says how she is not jealous of virgin women, and how she always has her man in her bed. The Pardoner, hearing this, interrupts her in disgust and tells her how he has been thinking about marriage but now is glad that he is a single guy.
The Wife of Bath then tells the other pilgrims what has happened to her five husbands. She says, “Tho housbonds that I hadde, As three of hem were goode, and two were badde. The three men were goode, and riche, and olde”[Norton,121]. In other words, the first three husbands were good to her; they were old and had money to take care of her. The fourth husband she had no control over. He was a reveler who loved to party. The Wife of Bath has a problem with him because he has a mistress. To get even with him, she tries to make him jealous. She torments him so much in life that she prays he is now in heaven. “The fifth husband she truly loved but there was one problem; he was abusive”[Norton,128]. The Wi...
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...to pursue the man as well as to divorce him.
In many households, you can also see the husband cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the children. Most of the married couples now share chores around the house. They respect as well as help each other during difficulties of life. Women can now raise children, educate them and direct them to a good life without the monetary support of the husband.
As we can see, times have changed for the better. I must say some things still need improvement. Some men are still old fashioned and think they can control and look down on their wife. Some men still do not think a woman should have power in court, at home or in the office. Men believe that a woman’s place is in the home. What do you think?
Abrams, M.H. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. NewYork: W.W. Norton &Company, Inc., 1993
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