In Chaucer’s work, The Canterbury Tales (one of the greatest epic works of world literature) the gender questions are also moral questions. There is a theory created by Frederick Tupper in 1914 which means that the Canterbury Tales were designed as exemplification of sins and virtues, each tale drawing on one of the ’strict categories’ of traditional moral analysis. (Blamires) This is very interesting because we are in the Middle Ages where the religion was very important. I argue that this is a kind of ethical teaching and Christian morality at the same time. In this essay I will focus on the representation of gender roles, sexuality, hidden feminism, the importance of the marriage and the virginity in the Middle Ages. The ’Wife of
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David Williams interprets his ideas as: significantly, in her prologue, experience is something that exists only in the past and in the future, and, as the Wife makes clear, she looks forward hopefully to more sex and power as soon as possible. (Williams) She achieves her desires one by one, the power and sex, but not at the same time so she cannot attain the unity. She brings the vocabulary of liberality declaring that women desire to be free and expansive (Blamires 139) She totally declines that a widow or widower must not marry again. She does not take care about it, because she has had five husbands as we can read in the book: ”Five husbands have I had at the church door”. (Chaucer, 276) She tries to persuade everything and get evidence about the remarriage by religious views:
”Show me a time or texts where God disparages
Or sets a prohibition upon marriage…” (Chaucer 278)
She talks about her husbands in very light ways and sometimes she hears rather ironic but this kind of irony can entertain the people who read this Prologue and Tale about Wife of Bath. She is totally against the marriage chastity. She argues that that is not a full and harmonic marriage where there is no sexual intercourse. It is very important that two human beings’ unity satisfies everything in every walk of life. It is an interesting fact that the five marriages did not produce children. This can be a symbol of her sterility.