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    The Loyalty of Wives in “The Canterbury Tales” Essay

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    “The Canterbury Tales” is the epitome of ideals of medieval Europe. The lives of most medieval women were the role of the wife such as the lives of the women in “The Canterbury Tales. ” These women create a new definition of loyalty and partnership. The three women, The Wife of Bath, Dorigen, and Pertelote, all have different forms of expressing loyalty, but still hold the strong principles of marriage and honor to their husband. The Wife of Bath is one of the three female story tellers. She travels around the world and allows her experiences to freely flow.

    She has a refined characteristic shown by the way she dresses. The Wife enjoys conversation and uses both commonsense and intellectual truth. She has been married five times and through her experiences with her husbands, has learned how to provide for herself in a world where women had little independence or power. In her prologue her experiences give her the chance to speak on marital troubles: “Experience, though no authority were in this world, were good enough for me, to speak of woe that is in marriage (line 1-4).

    ” She cannot understand Christ’s rejection of the woman for having been married five times as quoted, “But someone told me not so long ago, that since out Lord, save once, would never go, to wedding (that at Gana in Galilee), thus, by this same example, showed He me I never should have married more than once (lines 9-13). ” She believes the decision of virginity has been left to the individual’s own judgment. The Wife agrees that virginity is great, but it is meant for those who want to lead perfect lives and she accepts that she is not perfect.

    She also argues that God created the sex organs for both function and pleasure. The Wife will never be difficult or refuse to have sex when her husband wants to because this is how she gains full power over her husbands. She manipulates husbands by withholding sensual pleasure, which she believes is the reason that men give her what she wants. This Prologue is more important than her tale because it is a defense of her multiple marriages and a justification of her maistrye. This makes the Wife a misrepresentation of the conventional medieval wife.

    She reinforces stereotypes for the refusal of showing that women should to be submissive and contrary to that, the Wife accepts that men are more reasonable than women. She concludes with the reason why men accept women’s power only to avoid nagging and arguing in the household. She remains loyal to her mate because he is under her control. The Franklin’s Tale is a short romance in which the main female character, lady Dorigen, is married to a knight, Averagus. Unlike most medieval couples, they are genuinely in love.

    Averagus decides to go to Britain to get training in arms which causes Dorigen great grief: “For all his absence wept she and she sighed, as noble wives do at lone foreside. She mourned, watched, wailed, she fasted and complained (Franklin’s Tale page 2 of 9). ” A squire, Aurelius, confesses his love with Dorigen only to meet her refusal. Dorigen tells the squire that she would consent to his love if he could remove all the rocks from the coast of Brittany to make her husband’s voyage back home safe. In search of her love, Aurelius desperately gets a magician to make the rocks disappear.

    Meanwhile Arveragus returns home safely and they are happily reunited. Aurelius goes to meet Dorigen to demand that she fulfills her end of the bargain. Dorigen, who has been certain that the promise would never be met is horrified, shows her loyalty towards her husband by telling him about the dilemma. Arveragus tells her that she must honor her promise and sends Dorigen to Aurelius. Aurelius is extremely moved by Arveragus’s nobility and Dorigen’s unconditional love and loyalty to her husband. With reason lady Dorigen refuses to be unfaithful to her husband and he releases her from her obligation.

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