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Towson - FORL 221 - Class Notes - Week 3

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Towson - FORL 221 - Class Notes - Week 3

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background image The Canterbury Tales 1.           General Theme: Protestant Reformation ideals ahead of his time (Martin Luther) The Wife of Bath’s Prologue (continued) 1.           Connection Between Marriage and Economics  Diversification (of markets, men)  Back­up plans for the future
­    Thinks that a mouse stupidly only has one hole to go into
“I holde a mouses herte nought worth a leek / That hath but oon hole for to sterte 
to,” (578­79).
2.           Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus? Balance: She embodies Mars and Venus (Heart is from Mars and Bodily desires are 
from Venus)
­ “In feeling, and myn herte is Marcien: / Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse”  (616­17) and “My chamber of Venus . . . Martes merk upon my face” (624­25). Possessed traditionally­perceived masculine traits  desire for Sovereignty
­ NOT a man in a woman’s body
­ Ambitious, competitive, un­ladylike and unapologetic desire for control and 
dominance (sex and otherwise), outgoing, etc.  3. 5   th    Husband Background
­ Age difference (she’s 40 while he’s 20) because she likes younger men
­ Met him at her 4
th  husband’s funeral (which, of course, is fine because he was a  philanderer)  Power Balance Changes
­ Initially shares assets with him (due to irrational attraction to him)
a. He has power and doesn’t care about her desires, so he controls her: doesn’t  like her roaming around, etc. (640) b. Justification: University student (who can read Latin) has auctoritee  ­ Shift beings in an argument: a. She rips a page from his sexist book (Valerie and Theofraste), strikes him, he  strikes her back, she lays there and pretends to wants a kiss (but hits him 
again)
b.   Reciprocity: He gives her back the assets and will neither hit her nor make  sexist comments. In return, she is loving and faithful. (With power, women 
want to please their husbands)
4. Male Narrator for Female Voice
background image Proto­ Feminist? Transcends beyond misogynistic literary female stereotypes 
(mostly) 
­ Respect: through allowing the Lady of Bath to tell her tale uninterrupted mostly
­ BUT Unclear whether or not this taints or brings greater respect to proto­feminist  ideals  Meta­textuality: (reading about reading) 
­ Valerie and Theofraste
5.           So… Proto­Feminist? Articulates double standards regarding gender
­ Sex without having children (similar to male behavior)
­ Claims that sexual desires come from the stars (or something unconscious­ as men
sometimes do) “By vertu of my constellacioun; / That made me I coude nought withdrawe” (622­
23).
Discredits entire sexist tradition  (694­716)
­ Since men wrote so much literature, of course they wrote bad things about women
­ When they grow older and cannot perform sexually, they become bitter and write 
horribly sexist things (713­14) Equitable Behavior (expresses rift in Estate Satire)
­ Does not judge people based on rank, race, or wealth; she only cares if she is 
sexually attracted to them (629­32) BUT it’s unclear if she embodies sexist tradition
­ Desire for complete dominance over men (as opposed to desire for equity) as 
opposed to realistic and lasting balance and therefore lasting control The Wife of Bath’s Tale

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School: Towson University
Department: Foreign Language
Course: British Literature to 1798
Professor: K. Attie
Term: Summer 2015
Tags: The Canterbury Tales, The Wife of Bath's Prologue, The Wife of Bath's Tale, and chaucer
Name: ENGL 221- Week 3 Notes
Description: These notes cover The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue (cont. from prior notes) and The Wife of Bath's Tale.
Uploaded: 02/17/2016
3 Pages 10 Views 8 Unlocks
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