62 terms

Wife of Bath Critics

STUDY
PLAY
James Winny - WoB
'she has overthrown the prohibitive morality of the medieval Church and planted her own pragmatic doctrine on the ruins'. Her flaws make her a complex character.
D.W. Robertson - WoB
Alisoun is 'hopelessly carnal and literal' in her understanding of the scriptures, her audience would have laughed at her.
Helen Barr - WoB
the Wife 'condemns not the opposite sex, but her own', her misunderstandings of the Bible show her 'female ignorance' and she uses the 'male voice of authority' to support her views
Thanassoulis - WoB
She challenges the inconsistencies in the Bible, but remains a comic stereotype
Marcotte - WoB
in Medieval times, women were associated with the body and senses, whereas men were associated with the mind and power
Dr Williams - WoB
The Wife's social class is somewhat ambiguous - her trade (seamstress)
makes her middle class but her choice of Romance genre for her tale is associated with the gentil classes.
The wife of Bath's attitude to her own sexuality could be described as capitalistic - in marriage she is both the seller and the commodity
Carruthers - WoB
the Wife's financial independence gives her the power to choose her husband, so she can choose love: thus, wealth and autonomy are the greatest components of love
H Marshall Leicester
An example of an early feminist, striving for autonomy
Phillip Allen (women)
Her discourse is built from a tapestry of anti-feminist writings, and she can sometimes be seen as being the epitome of all the things those writers were complaining about
E. Hansen
product of a masculine imagination against which she only ineffectually and superficially rebels"
Susan Crane
The Wife is destined to fail in her search for equality because she is trying to gain acceptance by emulating men
Oberembt (religion)
The Wife's will to dominate husbands and her wish that all wives be as she is are no less, these critics assure us, than a subversion of the principle of patriarchal order sanctioned by Scripture and Christian tradition
Burton
a profoundly religious woman, perhaps essentially a sexual puritan masking as a sexual libertine
James Winny (religion)
She has overthrown the prohibitive morality of the Medieval Church and planted her own pragmentic doctrine of the ruins
L. Bisson
The Wife takes "delight in seizing the clerical prerogative of assigning meaning to authorative texts"
Helen Cooper
Jankyn "cannot be taken as any principle of correct Christian marriage"
Pope
The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale is a composite...made up of two elements, a sermon and a confession.
James Cook
The Wife will never achieve such a charity or the accompanying correction of her ways because she will never submit to a husband in accordance with the sacrament
Bernard Levy
he Wife seeks to control Jankyn because he will not sleep with her thus not allowing her to control the marriage bed, so she cannot master him
Oberembt (sex)
She carefully criticises accepted beliefs about sex in her presentation of married life
Donald C. Baker
The Wife's arguments for gentillesse are ... arguments with an ulterior motive. Her defense of naturally - or divinely - originated gentillesse is not a defense of the idea abstractly considered, but an argument in a narrower scheme of wife-liberation
D.W. Robertson (character)
She is not a 'character' in the modern sense but ... a device created by Chaucer for the purpose of outlining and rejecting a point of view
James Winny (character)
Her indiscretions and shortcomings do not stand as types of moral weakness, but as details of a complicated personality
Thomas Van
All of her disguises can be removed only to reveal another disguise
D.W. Robertson (literature)
hopelessly carnal and literal understanding of scripture
Caroline Dinshaw
digression, dilation and delay of closure are features of the narrative form
Paradise
Her digression entices us into the tale ... we desire to hear more
Laurie Finke (children)
The link between sexuality and monetary gain is the key to the Wife's performance - she produces not children but money
Laurie Finke (symbolism)
symbolic of the barrenness of her life, or her single-minded pursuit of profit
Layser
On the one hand, widows were percieved in Biblical terms as objects of respect and charity, whilst on the other hand, like Chaucer's WoB, they were expected to be avaricious and sexually greedy
Tasioulas
Animal imagery is in fact used almost entirely to refer to women... Women and animals share a very close existance in this text which is not surprising when we consider how the Middle Ages felt about both of them... Animals traditionally symbolise lack of reason
Carrington
Chaucer has no over-arching moral or philosophical intention
Roberts
The Wife of Bath's tale is referred technically as an exemplum, a story told to illustrate an intellectual idea
Christine Tucker
In the Wife's own marriages, her greatest unhappiness
lies in moments where her power, or "maistrie," is threatened.
Christine Tucker
The commodification of sex within marriage allows the Wife of Bath to retain control over her many husbands
Christine Tucker
The distinction between good and bad [husbands] comes from the level of power each man grants her.
H Marshall Leicester
An example of an early feminist, striving for autonomy
Phillip Allen (women)
Her discourse is built from a tapestry of anti-feminist writings, and she can sometimes be seen as being the epitome of all the things those writers were complaining about
E. Hansen
product of a masculine imagination against which she only ineffectually and superficially rebels"
Susan Crane
The Wife is destined to fail in her search for equality because she is trying to gain acceptance by emulating men
Oberembt (religion)
The Wife's will to dominate husbands and her wish that all wives be as she is are no less, these critics assure us, than a subversion of the principle of patriarchal order sanctioned by Scripture and Christian tradition
Burton
a profoundly religious woman, perhaps essentially a sexual puritan masking as a sexual libertine
James Winny (religion)
She has overthrown the prohibitive morality of the Medieval Church and planted her own pragmentic doctrine of the ruins
L. Bisson
The Wife takes "delight in seizing the clerical prerogative of assigning meaning to authorative texts"
Helen Cooper
Jankyn "cannot be taken as any principle of correct Christian marriage"
Pope
The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale is a composite...made up of two elements, a sermon and a confession.
James Cook
The Wife will never achieve such a charity or the accompanying correction of her ways because she will never submit to a husband in accordance with the sacrament
Bernard Levy
he Wife seeks to control Jankyn because he will not sleep with her thus not allowing her to control the marriage bed, so she cannot master him
Oberembt (sex)
She carefully criticises accepted beliefs about sex in her presentation of married life
Donald C. Baker
The Wife's arguments for gentillesse are ... arguments with an ulterior motive. Her defense of naturally - or divinely - originated gentillesse is not a defense of the idea abstractly considered, but an argument in a narrower scheme of wife-liberation
D.W. Robertson (character)
She is not a 'character' in the modern sense but ... a device created by Chaucer for the purpose of outlining and rejecting a point of view
James Winny (character)
Her indiscretions and shortcomings do not stand as types of moral weakness, but as details of a complicated personality
Thomas Van
All of her disguises can be removed only to reveal another disguise
D.W. Robertson (literature)
hopelessly carnal and literal understanding of scripture
Caroline Dinshaw
digression, dilation and delay of closure are features of the narrative form
Paradise
Her digression entices us into the tale ... we desire to hear more
Laurie Finke (children)
The link between sexuality and monetary gain is the key to the Wife's performance - she produces not children but money
Laurie Finke (symbolism)
symbolic of the barrenness of her life, or her single-minded pursuit of profit
Layser
On the one hand, widows were percieved in Biblical terms as objects of respect and charity, whilst on the other hand, like Chaucer's WoB, they were expected to be avaricious and sexually greedy
Tasioulas
Animal imagery is in fact used almost entirely to refer to women... Women and animals share a very close existance in this text which is not surprising when we consider how the Middle Ages felt about both of them... Animals traditionally symbolise lack of reason
Carrington
Chaucer has no over-arching moral or philosophical intention
Roberts
The Wife of Bath's tale is referred technically as an exemplum, a story told to illustrate an intellectual idea
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