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Geoffrey Chaucers Impression of Women during Medieval Times Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales in the late 1400s He came up with the idea of a pilgrimage to Canterbury in which each character attempts to tell the best story In that setting Chaucer cleverly reveals a particular social condition of England during the time In this period the status role and attitudes towards women were clearly different from that of today Two tales in Chaucers collection specifically address this subject the Millers Tale and the Reeves Tale The interplay between the tales and characters further enhances the similar viewpoints these stories have towards women In the Middle Ages most women married and began raising children soon after reaching puberty They remained largely indoors having no true chance to receive a formal education or to gain any social or economic power Husbands commonly had full control of their wives often limiting their public lives solely to the family A wife must please her husband and be totally obedient to him even when he is unjust and violent Blewitt 662 In both the Millers and the Reeves tales Chaucer presents the women of the household indoors in all instances Alison of the Millers Tale lives in a cottage alone with her husband John and fly Nicholas a scholar Her implied role besides sexual purposes includes tending to house chores just as the Millers wife and daughter in the Reeves Tale Although the womens sole purpose as a wife comes naturally as one of sexual purposes a wifes first duty was to provide her husband with an heir and she could be divorced if she was barren Rhinesmith 601 The wife must be loyal to her husband and obey him even when her husband commits fiendish acts such as affairs In these two tales Chaucer brings about the ideas of protection and immortality With men often leaving
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