Wife Of Bath By Chaucer And Feminism In the medieval period when women were viewed as property, held to sexual double standards and considered to be little more than heir-makers, Chaucer wrote a rather biting piece that draws attention to the inequalities in standards for men and women that were supported by society. This might seem ironic coming from a man in this period, but it is not so ironic when one looks at the Canturbury Tales and acknowledges it as a fine work of satire. Chaucer attacks other long-standing traditions such as corruption in the church (the tales of the Monk, the Friar and the Pardoner). His critical look at the standards for women especially enforced by the church add humor to the tale of the Wife of Bath in the process of making a poignant political statement. Chucer prepares the reader for the tale with his brief description of the wife in the Prologue.
Here she is a skilled cloth-maker and devoted Christian pilgrim who has made three trips to Jerusalem asa well as several other shrines in different countries. The irony comes in when Chaucer adds that she is a gap-toothed woman (a traditional sign of a lecherous nature)in scarlett red leggings, who has been married five times and, “of remedies of love she knew parchance” (Chaucer 92). This picture does not coincide with the image of a hard working, devoted Christian woman according to the doctrine of the church. Chaucer’s physical description is important because it makes the Wife of Bath more credible. She reeks of experience.