How the Two Women are Depicted Differently in the Canterbury Tales





How the Two Women are Depicted Differently in the Canterbury Tales


The Canterbury Tales are a set of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer from the point of view of different people. The narrator’s of the tales come from diverse backgrounds that are reflected in the themes and styles of stories that they tell. In the collection, The Prioress’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale are two of several stories that are told from the point of view of women. One of the things that made Chaucer’s work very popular is that he was able to create realistic depictions of the characters who narrated the story. Through the two tales listed, the reader is able to see what women were like at the time that Chaucer wrote the title, as well as the way that they saw the world. Through the contrasts in the Prioress’s Tale and the Wife of Bath’s Tale, showed that women in the fourteenth century had opinions and views that varied starkly.

Summaries of the Tales

The Wife of Bath’s Tale is narrated by a woman who claims to have been married five times and revolves around the issue of marriage. In the story, a young night rapes a beautiful maiden. The public detests the knight’s deed and wants him dead, but the queen intervenes and presents him with an option. The queen issues the knight with an ultimatum stating that the knight has to find out what women desire most or else he will be executed. The knight goes on a quest and finds an old woman who claims she will help him on condition that he marry her. After the woman has saved the knight’s life, he marries her but is unwilling to consummate their union because he is not attracted to her. The old woman explains that the knight should care more about his wife’s virtue and gives him two choices. The knight was to choose between having the hag as a loyal and virtuous wife and having a young beautiful companion whose faith would be in contention. The knight lets the hag have her way and after she kisses him, she turns into an attractive woman, allowing the two to live happily ever after.

The Prioress’s Tale is narrated from the point of view of a woman who Chaucer shows to be an aristocrat living in a religious way of life. The prioress tells the story of a young matyr

Comparison between the Wife of Bath and the Prioress

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