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Word Count: 1,139
From Eve to Mary The Middle Ages was an interesting time to be a woman For centuries the church generally disapproved of with equal measure women and sex Women were not even thought of as human beings and were seen as necessary only in what they could do for their men When the men left for the Crusades women were given a larger role in the upkeep of their husbands houses and estates and assumed a more public role in the community This gave the women a greater feeling of independence which they did not relinquish entirely when the men returned As the men returned from the crusades they brought with them a new found openness to ideas and a newfound respect for the worship of the Virgin Mary These are two of the factors that resulted in an image change for women Women went from being despised into being respected and often admired In Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales he uses the two women characters of the Prioress and the Wife of Bath as contrasts in order to satirize the churchs view of women Women were admired for being pure unattainable and virtuous and not for any other talents that they might have They had moved from Eve to Mary The 12th century also gave us the concept of Courtly Love a form of which is still seen in todays modern romance novels The stories of courtly love were at their peak at the same time that the church was at its most powerful This makes Chaucers characterization of the Prioress all the more delightful By admiring her perfection in both manners and in looks the narrator combines the church and English pop culture of that time The overlap of the two can be most easily seen when the narrator describes in detail the Prioresss appearance Hir mouth ful smal and ther-to softe and reed But sikerly she hadde a
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