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Women have not always had the respect and equality they have today Throughout history women were inferior to men Women lived in a male-dominated society that portrayed women as an inferior race Over the years women eventually gained the rights and opportunities that generations before them lacked It was the strong-hearted courageous and motivated women of the past who fought for equality and did not give up until they achieved it Chaucer appears to be one of the first authors of his time to support women by creating two very strong-willed and successful women in the Wife of Bath and the hag in the Wife of Baths tale By giving these women characteristics of strength courage and confidence and by exemplifying the divergent roles women played Chaucer contradicts the gender roles and stereotypes of his time that had dictated extremely subservient lives for women The Wife of Baths prologue and tale reveal that power is not important and that true happiness can only be attained through equality Through the eyes of his woman characters Chaucer points out that there is far too much reliance on power Kittredge This constant power struggle was responsible for the horrible distortion of womens characters and their place in society The Wife of Bath contradicts every secular and religious stigma attached to woman of her time She represents the liberal extreme in regards to female stereotypes of the Middle Ages by having a mind of her own The Wife of Bath was filled with pride and loved to show-off her vivid attire which would have been censured by priests and parsons in her time Hladik She can practically be considered a sex symbol of her generation Kittredge She opposes the concept of chastity and plainly states her personal ideas concerning that subject within in the prologue of her tale She states several examples of how her society treated women unfairly She said that the teachings of Christ say that women
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