Friday, September 18, 2020

Wife of Bath as interpreter

 Wife of Bath as interpreter

Wife Of Bath As Interpreter, Alisoun, the Wife of Bath, is one of very few women pilgrims in Geoffrey Chaucer’s unfinished collection of poems, The Canterbury Tales, and the only secular female voice (the others being a nun and the Prioress), but she is arguably the most memorable and voluble speaker.

With a prologue twice the length of her own tale, her character is one of Chaucer’s most significant creations, Wife Of Bath As Interpreter, although his perspective of her outspoken views on marriage, power and religious doctrine remains ambiguous.

Wife of Bath as interpreter


Wife Of Bath As Interpreter, The Wife of Bath’s prologue details her experience of sex and marriage as a woman who has had ‘housbondes ... five’ since the age of ‘twelve’. It is on the basis of this personal ‘experience’ that she sets herself up from the beginning of her prologue as an authority on marriage, in contrast to written, and by implication male, ‘auctoritee[s]’ – Wife Of Bath As Interpreter, an immediately controversial stance since books and the written word were highly valued as sources of knowledge and learning in medieval rhetoric.

Wife Of Bath As Interpreter, This dichotomy between female (spoken and subjective) experience and male (written and seemingly-objective) ‘auctoritee’ is a recurring theme in her prologue.

Wife Of Bath As Interpreter, Alisoun seems well-versed in the literature of the period, so the value she places on her own experience is grounded in her familiarity with these texts.

1 comment: