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Word Count: 1,844
Upon a first reading of the Wife of Baths Prologue its hard not to feel the need to pat her on the shoulder and say Go-girl Theres no denying the impact that Feminism has had on our Millennium-revved society and the Wife of Baths character would certainly have contradicted the oppressive customs of Chaucers time But on closer inspection it would seem that the Prologue could be considered a medium for an anti-feminist message under the semblance of a seemingly feminist exterior She confesses her treatment of her husbands and her tendency to swere and lyen and this self-incrimination invokes a feeling that the Wife is an extraordinarily attractive character by sharing her feminine faults with us good-humouredly At the same time her robust energy and her arguments against anti-feminists her comments about clerks being unable to do Venus werkes and taking it out on sely wyfs in print are carried further in the Tale where the ending arguably serves as a climax summarising many of the Wifes themesIn her Prologue her arguments in favour of marriage show a hearty common sense but they are suspect while it is true that marriage peoples the earth and replenishes existing stocks of virginitee her own marriages do not seem to have produced any offspring and while it may be bet to be wedded than to brinne her marriages despite her claim that in wyfhood I wol use myn instrument do not seem to have prevented her from goon a-caterwawing and by decision engaging in fornication I ne loved nevere by no discreciounBut evere folwede myn appetitAl were he short or long or blak or whit which is after all what marriage was according to her supposed to preventFrom the account she gives of her marriages it becomes increasingly obvious that marriage for her is not quite so beneficial as one might think the only benefit the husbands get in exchange for their purgatorie is that of
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