Representation of Women
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales he tells many different stories throughout the novel, discussing a variety of topics among the lines of marriage, sex, gender roles, stereotypes and religion. This novel was one of the most revolutionary of its time exploring ideas that no other writers were portraying in their works. Chaucer’s work opened up many areas of conversation now and during the medieval ages which Is why it is taught in schools all over the world. The novel was written in the mid to late 1300’s which was a time when gender constructs were intermixed into everyday life. Men and women were expected to fulfill the title they were given and Chaucer takes these titles and breaks them down to show that there is a person beneath it, not just a façade. Women are portrayed in several lights creating visions of appreciation but also neglect. From beginning to end there are only three women narrators but many tales recited by men about women. Chaucer takes a look at women and how they are depicted. Women play a key role in society and Chaucer utilizes their stereotypical representation to offer new, unexplored, humanizing perceptions of them as a whole.
In the knights tale women are more of a negative way, more as a possession rather than human being. Right from the start, the Knight talks about the Duke of Theseus and how once he is victorious over the Amazon he can take Queen Hippolyta as his wife and her younger sister Emily. Therefore, the two women are being won as prizes. The Knight then talks about these women who have lost their husbands at war and are approaching in proper station, “A company of ladies were in view, all clothed in black, each pair in proper station.” This term refers to a sort of rank and power; he is seeing these ladies arranged by status. Another significance of these women is how Chaucer depicts them as dependent on their husbands. Of course they are going to be upset that their husband just died in...
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