Medieval English Literature Week 11 and 12


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Medieval English Literature Week 11 and 12

  1. 1. Wife of Bath’s Tale <ul><li>Medieval English Literature - Week 11 & 12 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Wife of Bath <ul><li>447: A good WIF was ther, OF biside BATHE, </li></ul><ul><li>But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe. </li></ul><ul><li>Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt, </li></ul><ul><li>She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt. </li></ul><ul><li>In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon </li></ul><ul><li>That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon; </li></ul><ul><li>And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she, </li></ul><ul><li>That she was out of alle charitee. </li></ul><ul><li>Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground; </li></ul><ul><li>I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound </li></ul><ul><li>That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed. </li></ul><ul><li>Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed, </li></ul><ul><li>Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe. She was a worthy womman al hir lyve: Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve, Withouthen oother compaignye in youthe, - But therof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe. And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem; She hadde passed many a straunge strem; At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne, In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne. She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye. Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye. Upon an amblere esily she sat, Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat As brood as is a bokeler or a targe; A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large, And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe. In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe. Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce, For she koude of that art the olde daunce.
  4. 4. Antifeminism in Medieval Culture <ul><li>Jerome’s Against Jovinian </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotlean Tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Judeo-Christian Tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Common complaints: hot, cold, vain, emotional, tempting </li></ul><ul><li>Most antifeminism stems from chaste men </li></ul>
  5. 5. Defense of Women <ul><li>Christine de Pizan: Sameness </li></ul><ul><li>Abelard: Nuns as an example of virtue; Mary of Magdelane, Virgin Mary </li></ul><ul><li>Chaucer: Strong, independent woman </li></ul>
  6. 6. Wife of Bath’s Marriages <ul><li>Justifies multiple marriages in Christian tradition </li></ul><ul><li>First three: old and rich </li></ul><ul><li>Fourth: Robs Wife of youth and beauty, she tortures as revenge </li></ul><ul><li>Fifth: She loved the most </li></ul>
  7. 7. Jankyn <ul><li>WoB meets while still married </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship of tension and control; WoB refuses to submit </li></ul><ul><li>Physical fight: Alison burns book of “wikked wyves”, he hits her (rendering her deaf in one ear) </li></ul><ul><li>He submits, their marriage is happy </li></ul>
  8. 8. Wife of Bath’s Tale <ul><li>Knight in Arthur’s court rapes a woman and must be punished by death </li></ul><ul><li>Guinevere intercedes, saves him </li></ul><ul><li>Gives quest to find what women really want more than anything else </li></ul><ul><li>Each woman gives a different answer </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Meets old hag after a year of searching </li></ul><ul><li>She offers to tell him, if he will marry her </li></ul><ul><li>Tells him: they want sovereignty in marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Right answer, they marry </li></ul><ul><li>She offers him: beautiful and unfaithful, ugly and faithful </li></ul><ul><li>He gives her the choice; she becomes fair and faithful as reward </li></ul><ul><li>Happily ever after </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>How do tale and prologue relate? </li></ul><ul><li>Why happy story of rapist? </li></ul><ul><li>How is marriage perceived in this tale? </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage group: Clerk’s Tale, Merchant’s Tale, Franklin’s Tale and “ideal love” </li></ul>