Saturday, March 2, 2019
Antifeminism in Medieval Literature Essay
literary productions through out(a) the middle ages was often extremely antifeminist, in large get due to the patriarchal nature of society and the lack of female writers. Wo manpower were portray as vile temptresses, whose very existence revolved around do universe misery. This style of writing is strongly evidenced in The Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the unripened Knight where Geoffrey Chaucer and the Pearl Poet create characters to strongly reinforce the sentiment. These writers ingestiond diachronic and mythological examples, as well as The Lords Lady, and Alyson, the married wo gentle human beings gentleman of Bath, to portray womens loathsome nature.In The married woman of Bath, the fifth keep up of Alyson sustains a book filled with examples of women of poor character. Unlike Sir Gawain and the putting green Knight, they catch from whole of history, including Socrates, Sampson, and Hercules along with many others, and how their wives and l all overs betraye d them. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the examples of incorrigible women be solely biblical. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain initiatory put forwards Eve, the original sinner, who, after cosmos tricked by the serpent, went on to poison Adams mind also.She sheathd man to be cast out of the Garden of Eden, for women to suffer in childbirth, and for man to have to work the ground to produce food (NKJV, Gen. 3). Solomon is next mentioned, the man whom God gifted with riches and great wisdom. Indeed, Solomon did say I honor more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets (NKJV, Ecc. 7. 26), n of all timetheless he also praises the good wife, telling man to live joyfully with the wife whom you love (NKJV, Ecc. 9. 9). One of the wisest man Who does non know the tale of Sampson and femme fatale? Only the betrayal of Judas is better kn take.Delilah caused Sampson to be imprisoned, and his eyes to be poked out after he foolishly trusted her (NKJV, Jud ges 16). Lastly, on that point is Bathsheba, who made a man after Gods own heart to sin. This last example is extremely questionable, as Bathshebas sm each(a) sin of being indecently exposed cannot be blamed for the tremendous actions David committed (NKJV, 2nd Sam. 11). Certainly there are many examples of chastely upright women throughout history and in the Bible, but Chaucer and the Pearl Poet do not seek these out, instead choosing to reinforce the antifeminist sentiment popular at the time.Two of the trey women mentioned in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight seek to stretch the statuesque Gawain. Morgan Le Fey, after hearing of his renown, sends the Green Knight to attempt to put a blemish on Gawains stalwart reputation. despite being sent with such mephistophelean intentions, the Green Knight drags it communicate he wished only to test Gawains morals, rather than having any beady-eyed intent. The Pearl Poet seems to go out of his way to exonerate the Green Knight, a rt object making Morgan Le Fey and The Lords Lady out to be extremely ignoble individuals.The Lords Lady entered Gawains chambers both(prenominal) good morning, essentially holding him hostage, as it would have been unseemly to be seen ungarmented in front of a peeress. She then began to use his honor and courteousness against him. admire dictated for a knight to do almost anything a lady asked, and the Lords Lady used this fact at every(prenominal) opportunity. She showered Gawain with compliments, fawned over his achievements, and asked him to teach her of love. When he still ever so courteously put off her advances, she scolded him for being cold and stern.She insisted he kiss her, first upon leaving, then upon seeing her, always working to get closer to him. Her patience after Gawain had made it clear multiple times that he would not be tempted, reveals a severe lack of a conscious. It is not supernatural to be tempted, and many will even act upon a temptation, but the Lords Lady made a great effort to commit adultery. She has no qualms over the sinful nature of her actions, as morning after morning she doggedly pursued Gawain. Women were represented as temptresses, who will only cause men to sin and lower themselves.The Lords Lady from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an example used to reinforce the antifeminist sentiment popular during the time. Alyson, the Wife of Bath, makes the actions of the Lords Lady seem trivial. She proves herself to be extremely temperamental, manipulating, backwards, selfish, lewd, and all around amoral. Alyson began in the prologue of her tale by quoting examples from the Old Testament of men who had multiple wives as her defense for having had five. She states that God made no mention of the number of economises a woman should have, so why should men make anything of it?However, later in the text, when others quote scripture, she gives not a gnat. Alyson was willing to use whatever she could to justify her argu ment, and dismiss the same source when it didnt adapt her. She worked tirelessly to manipulate her husbands for whatever she wanted. She gained all of her three old husbands riches, and laughed at how pitifully they struggled to please her. For as she said, I have the power during all my life over his own body, and not he. Her fifth husband was a scoundrel and the only one who was indifferent to her.He stood a chance against her, but only for so long. Eventually she gained dominion over him as well, after her stubbornness outlasted his and he gave her leave to do as she pleased. Indeed, as she states in her tale, a womans greatest zest is dominion over her husband. While she desired her husbands silver and power, she desired sex even more. She makes it clear that she will work at her husband and not desist until he is both her debtor and her slave. She will use her blessed instrument to give it to her husband both morning and night, as freely as my maker it sent.She made her th ree old husbands work hard to fulfill their debt, and all her fifth husband had to do was lie with her for her to forget of all the wrong he had done. Her infantile fixation with the act of sex is nothing less than repugnant. As one index expect, she also condones adultery, prostitution, and even sex before marriage. She even goes as remote as to compare a woman to a household item, to be tried out. When her husband committed adultery against her, she made him fry in his own grease for anger, and for pure jealousy, however she did the same with the clerk in a field.Once again Alyson reveals inconsistencies in what she believes is right for her and what is right for others. In the story she tells, a young man who rapes a woman is essentially rewarded for the crime, further reinforcing her skewed sense of right and wrong. She clearly believes she is above them, and that the consequences for her own actions should not apply. She proves to be extremely selfish, not bothering to pleas e her husbands after acquire their land and their money. Further, she does not even mourn for her fourth husband, because she has already plant someone to fuel her desires.All in all Alyson, the Wife of Bath, fulfills the post of the vile temptress to perfection. Chaucer created a character malignant and nearly evil in nature, which should strike fear into any man who might ever want to marry. With the creation of such incorrigible female characters with such noble male counterparts, there can leave little doubt nearly the stance of Chaucer and The Pearl Poet on antifeminism. The Wife of Baths Prologue and Tale, as well as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight provide ample amounts of withstand to the antifeminist stereotype in medieval times.